Experts on stars and supermassive black holes in galactic nuclei will meet in Brno

A meeting of experts on the dynamics and physics of black holes and star formation in galactic nuclei will be hosted by the Brno Observatory and Planetarium at the beginning of June. During the three-day workshop, experts will also discuss developments in instrumentation, including the infrared James Webb Infrared Telescope and the new IXPE X-ray probe with a polarimeter, The meeting, entitled CPB meeting 2022, has been organised by the High Energy Astrophysics Group of the Department of Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics, Faculty of Science, Masaryk University (MU), in cooperation with the Astronomical Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the University of Cologne. A detailed workshop program is available at here.

16 May 2022 Tereza Fojtová

“The meeting is the latest in a series of Cologne-Prague meetings that have been held regularly since 2013 in different cities, including Cologne, Prague and Kiel”, said Michal Zajaček from the Department of Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics at the Faculty of Science MU. The event will also include the presentation of the Ernst Mach Medal of Honour, awarded by the CAS for excellent scientific results in the field of physics. This year, the award goes to Professor Andreas Eckart of the University of Cologne for his lifelong contribution to the physical sciences.

Andreas Eckart originally worked for Reinhard Genzel’s team at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, where he detected fast stars, so-called S stars, close to the supermassive black hole at the centre of our Galaxy. For these measurements, Reinhard Genzel was awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics, which he shared with Andrea Ghez (UCLA) and Roger Penrose (Oxford). The Ernst Mach Academic Medal is awarded for Eckart's significant contribution to the study of the complex environment surrounding the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way. A significant part of his scientific work was enabled through collaboration with Czech and Slovak astrophysicists from the Astronomical Institutes of the CAS, Charles University in Prague, and Masaryk University in Brno.

Vladimír Karas from the Astronomical Institute of the CAS and a co-organiser of the CPB meeting 2022, contributed to modelling the radiation effects of orbiting “hot spots” in the accretion flow around Sgr A* *, and a series of articles on the formation, dynamics and development of young stars around supermassive black holes was published in cooperation with Michal Zajaček, who completed his Doctoral studies in Cologne in 2014-2017 under Eckart’s supervision in close collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn.

It is also worth mentioning the contribution of another CPB meeting participant, Rainer Schödel from Granada (Spain), who, in 2002, was the first to determine the elliptical orbit of the brightest S star showing that it orbits the supermassive black hole once every 16 years. Another significant guest will be the Polish astrophysicist Bozena Czerny, an expert on active galactic nuclei, and this year’s winner of the Lodewijk Woltjer Lecture Prize of the European Astronomical Society.

The CPB meeting 2022 is being organised by the High Energy Astrophysics Group under the leadership of Norbert Werner, winner of the Austrian Ignaz L. Lieben Prize. The group studies a range of topics related to the hot and energetic Universe, including galactic nuclei, galaxy clusters and CubeSat gamma-ray detection. Financial support for the group is being provided by an EXPRO grant from the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic (21-13491X: Exploring the Hot Universe and Understanding Cosmic Feedback) and a MASH 3 grant from the Masaryk University

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