Logo IMG
HOME > My Amsci > Restricted Access

On the Trail of Monster Black Holes

Restricted Access The content you've requested is available without charge only to active Sigma Xi members and American Scientist subscribers.

If you are an active member or an individual subscriber, please log in now in order to access this article.

If you are not a member or individual subscriber, you can:


2013-11HlavacekF1.jpgClick to Enlarge ImageBlack holes are among the most extreme and intriguing objects in the universe. They are also among the most difficult to study, being incredibly small and incredibly dark (that’s the “black” part) when left in isolation. But the massive black holes that live in the centers of most or all major galaxies are rarely left on their own. Instead they pull in nearby stars and gas, creating hot disks of plasma, mysterious jets of particles, and a cacophony of radiation. New techniques are bringing these black holes into view and starting to uncover the ways that they affect the overall form and evolution of galaxies. And black hole observations are about to get even better: A huge cloud of gas is about to fall into the central black hole in the Milky Way, touching off celestial fireworks, and the new global Event Horizon Telescope should make it possible to view black holes directly for the first time.

Subscribe to American Scientist