Horsehead Nebula

About Me

Julia (Julie) Comerford
I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where I work on observations of AGN feeding and feedback. I use dual AGN and offset AGN to trace AGN feeding in galaxy mergers, and AGN outflows to study feedback effects between an AGN and its host galaxy. I also study the galaxy merger rate and its implications for gravitational waves produced by binary supermassive black holes.

Here is my CV. Learn More

In the News

"Song of the Universe" (TEDx talk)
"Supermassive Black Holes Explained" (PhD Comics)
"Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman" (The Science Channel)

Gravitational Waves:
"Black Hole at Heart of Our Galaxy Is on Crash Course, Space-Time Ripples Reveal" (Wall Street Journal)

AGN Feedback:
"Researchers Spot Massive Black Hole In Double Burp" (NPR)
"Huge Black Hole Blasts Out Double Burp" (BBC)
"Giant Black Hole Seen Flickering On and Off after Galaxy Snack" (New Scientist)
"Scientists Observe Rare Supermassive Black Hole Double Belch" (Time)
"How Does a Black Hole Burp? Bleching Supermassive Black Hole Has Big Implications for Physics" (Newsweek)

AGN Feeding:
"Cataclysm Hunters: The Search for Monster Black-Hole Collisions" (
"This Galaxy Has Two Black Holes - And One of Them Is Very Strange" (Washington Post)
"Stripped Black Hole Could Be a Rarely Seen Phenomenon, Study Says" (LA Times)
"Rarely Seen Pair of Black Holes Discovered, One Unlike The Other" (NPR's Here & Now)
"Galaxy Found That Plays Host to Rare Combo of Two Black Holes" (Mashable)
"A Black Hole Dance Party" (U.S. News and World Report)
"Black-Hole Bonanza" (Sky and Telescope)
"Elusive Supermassive-Black-Hole Mergers Finally Found" (Wired)
"Waltzing Quasars Provide Signpost to Merging Galaxies" (Science magazine)

Read More about My Research

My Group

Current Members (from left to right):

Aimee Schechter: Graduate student working on using simulations to identify mergers in HST galaxies.

Maggie Huber: Graduate student working on supermassive black hole mass estimates for gravitational wave predictions.

Scott Barrows: Postdoc working on Chandra, WISE, and HST observations of offset AGN and dual AGN in galaxy mergers.

Joseph Simon: Postdoc working on the astrophysics of supermassive black hole binaries that produce gravitational waves detectable by pulsar timing arrays.


James Negus: Formerly a CU graduate student working on coronal lines and AGN in MaNGA, now a solar physics research scientist at CU CIRES.

Aaron Stemo: Formerly a CU graduate student working on SED modeling and Spitzer and Chandra observations of offset AGN and dual AGN in HST galaxies, now a postdoc at Vanderbilt University.

Francisco Müller-Sánchez: Formerly a CU postdoc working on VLA observations and spatially-resolved spectroscopy of dual AGN and AGN outflows, now faculty at the University of Memphis.

Rebecca Nevin: Formerly a CU graduate student working on galaxy mergers in MaNGA, now a postdoc at Fermilab.

Image credit: PhD Comics, Supermassive Black Holes Explained