Health, Science & Technology

Peering into the Dim Heart of Active Galaxies: Weak or Buried Monster Black Holes?

Centre for Extragalactic Astronomy, Durham University, UK
Peering into the Dim Heart of Active Galaxies
Prof Madya Dr Nur Adlyka bt. Ainul Annuar is an astrophysicist currently working as a senior lecturer at the Department of Applied Physics, Faculty of Science and Technology,  Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. The main objective of this research is to determine the true power of weak AGNs in our local universe by first selecting an initial sample of what appears to be a weak AGN from the Swift-BAT Telescope Survey Catalog. 
What are supermassive black holes, you ask?
The heart of active galaxies are powered by supermassive black holes (SMBHs) which are actively devouring materials around them. These black holes will form regions called active galactic nuclei (AGN), which are believed to have an impact on the growth of their host galaxies. 
Although the standard model of an AGN has been successful in describing the physical structure for most AGNs, there is some evidence that it might not be valid for a weak AGN. The investigation of these objects holds significance in advancing the validation of AGN physical models. Despite their deceptive appearances of weakness, AGNs, in reality, are potent entities often concealed by extensive clouds of gas and dust.
Dr. Nur’s study will help us to form a complete census of the AGN population in our universe over a broad range of power. This will provide a complete view on the impact of AGN on their host galaxies, which in turn will help us further understand the impact of the SMBH in our own galaxy on the Milky Way.
Empowering Prof Madya's mission
Despite her family’s early resistance to her dream of becoming an astronomer, Dr. Nur spent more than a decade acquiring knowledge and mastering the skills in the field, and continues to be intrigued by the galaxy's wonders.
One such wonder are active supermassive black holes, which was the subject of her research while attached to Durham University, U.K. and California Institute of Technology (Caltech), institutions which are highly esteemed in the world of astronomy research. She became the talk of the town after discovering the Supermassive Black Holes (supermassive black holes or giants) in the galaxy NGC 1448 during her research.  In fact, she is the only female astronomer studying black holes.
During her attachment, Prof Madya spent time doing data analysis, engaging in regular discussions with my hosts and fellow members of the institutions, attending astronomy-related talks and visiting research laboratories, which provided valuable networking opportunities and helped advance her own research. Her work has been published in a prestigious scientific journal. 

While the sitcom The Big Bang Theory shed some light into the field of physics and astronomy, it was not as common in real life to see people venture into the field as a career. However, for her it was an interesting career choice that is supportive of women, especially the field of astronomy which is full of excitement and mystery.

The information in this award recipient's profile is accurate to the best of our knowledge as of the time the award was presented. Any subsequent changes, updates, or developments in the individual's life or achievements may not be reflected in this profile.

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