Black Holes

Black holes are among the weirdest things in astronomy. Predicted by Einstein’s theory of general relativity, black holes objects so massive and compact that nothing, not even light can escape. Since their prediction from theory, stellar-mass black holes have been found scattered throughout the Milky Way and supermassive black holes containing millions to billions of times the mass of the Sun have been found inhabiting the Milky Way’s center and the cores of most large galaxies. Some are dark; others blaze their way out of quiescence as they guzzle gas from their surroundings — we see these black holes as X-ray sources and brilliant quasars. Peruse the stories below to get the latest news on black holes observations and theory.

two black holes in the moments before a catastrophic collision

LIGO Detects Second Black Hole Collision

The gravitational wave observatory has detected a second event, heralding a new era in astrophysics. The day after Christmas last year, the cosmos quietly gifted scientists with gravitational waves — ripples in the fabric of spacetime – produced in a collision between two stellar-mass black holes. It’s the second event detected by physicists working with…

Artist's impression of a quasar, one of the two primary contributors of UV light to the local universe.

Revealing Hidden Black Holes

The NuSTAR telescope has spied high-energy X-rays from five supermassive black holes shrouded in a thick veil of dust and gas, a test run that will lead to a better census of these hidden beasts.