I study supermassive black holes and galaxies.

I am an observational astronomer focused on understanding the role of supermassive black holes in the evolution of galaxies. Using space and ground-based telescopes from X-rays to the radio, I put together pieces of the puzzle that each kind of light gives us about these giant, central black holes when they are actively growing by accreting gas and the galaxies they live in. I am curious about how the galaxies and black holes evolve together and affect each others' growth.

I am currently a postdoctoral research associate at Dartmouth College, working with Dr. Ryan Hickox on properties of active black holes. From 2013-2016, I was a postdoctoral scholar with Dr. Patrick Ogle at IPAC/Caltech, studying the galaxies containing radio-bright active black holes. My Ph.D. in astrophysics was completed in 2013 at Harvard University, working with Dr. Howard Smith and Dr. Matthew Ashby on the evolution of star formation activity over the course of galaxy mergers. Before that, I graduated from University of Maryland, College Park with double degrees in astronomy and physics under the supervision of Dr. Lee Mundy.

Dartmouth College
Department of Physics and Astronomy
6127 Wilder Laboratory2
Hanover, NH 03755

lauranne.lanz [at] dartmouth.edu

Research interests


The Shocked Poststarburst Galaxy (SPOG) Survey identifies galaxies in the early stages of transitioning from actively star forming to quiescent, based on the presence of A stars (young, but not very young) and gas with shock indications. We want to understand the process of transition, including the role of active black holes. I lead several projects on SPOGs: (1) X-ray observations looking for active black holes, (2) 21cm radio observations measuring neutral gas mass, and (3) a qualitative morphology analysis.


I use NASA's NuSTAR and Chandra X-ray telescopes to get a better understanding of active supermassive black holes. X-ray emission, particularly at the hard energies of NuSTAR, come from very close to the black hole from very hot gas. I am presently looking at how that kind of information put together with infrared observations of dust heated by that X-ray emission can give us insights onto the distribution of covering fractions (shown as the dark dusty disk in the image to the left) of black holes.


Some active black holes give rise to very powerful jets, seen in the radio. Cen A, shown to the left, is one of the nearest. I am interested in understanding the impact that these jets have on the host galaxy as they make their way out into extragalactic space. I have looked in detail at 3C293 and NGC 4258 (shown in the image at the upper right of my homepage) and at a sample of these kinds of galaxies

Other interests

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I am avid traveler, having been to 6 continents, just missing Antarctica. I particularly enjoy hiking, having recently been to the Grand Canyon and spending a night overlooking a glacier in the Alps, and scuba diving, especially with turtles in Cozumel and seals off of the Channel Islands of Los Angeles. I also like to knit complicated lace shawls and playing the viola.


2018 Sept. 10