Modelling jets from binary black holes

Lead Research Organisation: University of Hertfordshire
Department Name: School of Physics, Astronomy and Maths


A prediction of the currently favoured hierarchical galaxy evolution
scenario is the presence of binary supermassive black holes in some
galactic nuclei. Their gravitational wave emission from in-spiral
before the final merger might be detectable with upcoming experiments.
If at least one of the black holes produces a jet, we might be able to
infer the presence of the secondary from a precession of the jet axis.
The interpretation of the relevant radio data is, however, complicated
by the interaction of the jet with its environment.
In this project, we will first derive precession parameters for a sample
of observed jets, then produce new simulations of the interaction of
precessing jets with their environment and finally compare the results to
the observational data in order to assess the presence of a secondary
supermassive black hole in the given sample of radio sources.


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Horton M (2023) New mechanisms for forming multiple hotspots in radio jets in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Horton M (2020) 3D hydrodynamic simulations of large-scale precessing jets: radio morphology in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Krause M (2020) A Markov chain Monte Carlo approach for measurement of jet precession in radio-loud active galactic nuclei in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ST/R504786/1 01/10/2017 31/01/2022
1957030 Studentship ST/R504786/1 01/10/2017 28/02/2021 Maya Horton
Title Science fiction poetry residency 
Description Delivered a week-long writing residency about crossovers between sciences and science fiction, particularly with regards to astronomy, black holes, and future scientific developments for a small group of writers and artists. 
Type Of Art Creative Writing 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact Generation of ideas and techniques which could lead to the generation of new works for participants. 
Description One-off participation in a group exhibition about scientific and artistic crossovers at Bayfordbury Observatory, Hertfordshire. I combined public domain astronomical images with my own mixed media output -- 3D modelling, 2D hydrodynamic-based paintings, textures and photography -- to mimic some of the landforms and phenomena that we observe elsewhere in our solar system. 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact Generation of a poster series which could be used in future exhibitions.