Weighing Black Holes with The Australian Dark Energy Survey (2016–2020)
This project will measure how supermassive black holes have evolved over the last 12 billion years. Direct measurements of central black hole masses only exist for about 40 relatively nearby galaxies. The unique time-lapse observations and five-year baseline of the Australian Dark Energy Survey will enable us to measure masses for about 400 black holes, an order of magnitude more than previously possible. In addition to weighing black holes, recent results show that with precision measurement these systems may provide a standard candle, a new fundamental yard-stick for cosmology. Unlike supernova observations that discovered dark energy, our measurements are practical to distances stretching back across 90% of the observable universe.