Quasars are among the most luminous and powerful objects in the Universe, powered by the accretion of matter onto supermassive black holes that reside at the centers of galaxies. While these amazing objects have been studied in depth since the 1960's, a large fraction of the quasar population has long been "missing", hidden by an obscuring screen of gas and dust. We are using powerful new infrared and X-ray observatories, in particular the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) and Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR), to peer through the dust and find these mysterious obscured quasars. We are investigating the abundance and spatial distribution of millions of obscured quasars detected by WISE and exploring the level of obscuration in these sources with NuSTAR, to determine the processes by which their are fueled and the large-scale cosmic structures in which they reside.
FACULTY CONTACT: Ryan Hickox