STRONGGRAVITY – Probing Strong Gravity by Black Holes Across the Range of Masses

This is an EU research project funded under the Space theme of European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 312789. See also the project summary web page at the EU portal.

The objective of STRONGGRAVITY is to develop analytical tools to study processes occurring near astrophysical black holes, acquire observational data on the Galactic solar-mass black holes in binary systems, super-massive black holes in the centres of galaxies and our central black hole of the Milky Way, and use the created tools together with the new and archival data for better understanding the properties of black holes and their immediate neighbourhood.

Black holes provide a crucial link between Einstein’s theory of gravity and real cosmic objects which astronomers can observe and study in the Universe. This project is oriented towards legacy of the cornerstone XMM-Newton X-ray satellite mission of European Space Agency in synergy with relevant data in other spectral domains that are covered by ground-based infrared and radio interferometric techniques at European Southern Observatory and elsewhere. Information in different wavelengths will be gathered and explored in order to understand radiation processes in places of strong gravity, near black holes.

It is almost impossible to see black holes directly, therefore it is the observation of the matter moving in close vicinity of these objects, either orbiting them, falling down upon them or being ejected from their neighbourhood that can reveal their properties. In this project we will analyse and interpret multiwavelength spectral and fast timing observations of systems containing different kinds of black holes, according to their mass – the solar-mass black holes in the binary systems in our Galaxy and the supermassive black holes in the centres of galaxies with masses of more than billion suns.

Over the course of the project, we are seeking valuable data from archives and complement them by performing new observations where needed. Our main objective is to use and enhance computational tools that the participating groups have been developing over two decades, and to join our effort in a dedicated program of data analysis and science interpretation of the most bizarre cosmic objects – black holes.


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