A year ago, my team announced the discovery of a major overlooked population of massive black holes in dwarf galaxies (Polimera et al. 2022). The discovery involved reanalyzing data that had been public for over a decade without any fancy data science techniques. What cracked the nut was fresh perspective. I will discuss the process of discovery, what it feels like, and why and how a "freelance astronomer" (read: maybe you?) might choose to get involved..
Sheila Kannappan is a Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Her research seeks to understand the evolution of galaxies and the larger cosmic structures in which they live. A recurring theme of her work is finding evidence that dwarf galaxies have much more exciting lives than previously thought: these supposedly boring galaxies turn out to be subject to overwhelming gas inflows from the cosmos, which fuel both exponential growth via star formation and unexpectedly widespread activity in massive black holes.