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Black Holes & Dead Stars

Supermassive, Intermediate & Stellar Mass Black Holes, White Dwarfs, Neutron Stars, Pulsars, Tidal Disruption Events

Image Credit: Aaron Geller/CIERA

Supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies, elusive intermediate mass black holes, and dead stars in the form of black holes, neutron stars, or white dwarfs, are the densest objects in the Universe. They are central players in much of modern astrophysics, but we have only been aware of and studying these objects for less than a century. Our observational record is less than five decades long.  As such, there are still many unanswered questions about how these systems form and evolve over cosmic time. CIERA is home to a broad group of researchers in theory, simulation, and observation that study these exotic objects.

Research at CIERA





Few things in the Universe are as dramatic as the death of a star. Transient events like supernovae, gamma ray bursts, and tidal disruptions of stars encountering massive black holes, are all astoundingly bright and carry information about the star that died, how it tore itself apart, and the fragments that remain.

Professor Fong observes short gamma ray bursts to learn about the neutron star and black hole mergers that give rise to these intense explosions.

Professor Miller observes Type Ia supernovae to understand the conditions and environments under which white dwarf stars explode.





Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Deadline: 11:59pm, December 31, 2025

CIERA supports a wide range of interdisciplinary projects focused on research, education, and public outreach in Astrophysics. Our faculty and postdocs work on projects that couple astronomy and astrophysics analysis with many other disciplines: computer science, applied math, planetary sciences, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, data science, science education, and more. Many have hired/mentored undergraduate researchers



Core Faculty

External Faculty

Diego Munoz

Diego Muñoz

Visiting Scholar, Professor at University of Arizona


Research Staff

Graduate Students