Investigating our variable Universe: from AGN variability to the quest for exoplanets
Dr. Lia Aleksandrović-Sartori (ETH Zurich, Institute for Particle Physics and Astrophysics)
Variability is ubiquitous in our Universe and can be observed or inferred in different objects at all timescales, from minutes to billions of years. In this talk I will illustrate how spatially resolved optical spectroscopy, combined with high quality X-ray data, can be used to probe active galactic nuclei (AGN) variability on timescales greater than 10^4 yr. I will then present a framework which allows us to test if and how variability in different AGN and at different timescales can be linked and explained based on the distribution of the Eddington ratio (ER) among the galaxy population, and discuss possible applications of this model. In the second part of the talk I will show how techniques similar to those applied to AGN variability can enable us to search for extrasolar planets, and how satellites usually devoted to exoplanets search can be used to investigate AGN variability.