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What is a black hole? Do black holes even exist? How are black holes formed? Can we see black holes?
Even the most commonly asked questions on black holes are difficult to answer. Black holes are the ultimate unknown — these rents in the fabric of spacetime let nothing, not even light, escape. Yet we know they exist in part because of the light shed by their surroundings. Ironically, the blackest objects of the universe can also be surrounded by some of the brightest stuff. Supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies become powerful beacons when they feed — gas that flows into these gaping maws heats up and glows so bright that it can be see all the way from the early universe.
Each of the four articles in this free ebook from Sky & Telescope magazine helps reveal the mysteries of supermassive black holes, including how they form and what role they play in the larger galaxy. And one day, we might even be able to observe the beasts themselves.
This free eBook from Sky & Telescope magazine includes four articles from the experts, who explain various theories and facts about black holes.
- "A Quasar in Every Galaxy?" by Robert Irion summarizes observations and theories about the supermassive black holes that exist in the core of almost every major galaxy.
- "How Black Holes Helped Build the Universe" by Christopher Wanjek shows how, without black holes, we wouldn't recognize the universe around us, and we might not even exist.
- "Spinning Hearts of Darkness" by Laura Brenneman observes spinning black holes to help answer a fundamental question: how are black holes formed?
- "Einstein's Shadow" by Camille Carlisle introduces a planet-wide telescope — the global Event Horizon Telescope — that has set its sights on imaging a black hole's silhouette. One day soon, we will have direct evidence that black holes are real.
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Peek Into Sky & Telescope's Black Holes eBook: Learn Black Hole Facts & Theories!
Black holes are things of wonder. These dark beasts become bright beacons of light when they feed on hot gas, yet they remain shrouded in mystery. Many questions remain unanswered: How do black holes form? What role do they play in galaxy formation?
What we do know is that without black holes, the world as we know it might be entirely different. Black holes shape the universe's evolution; without them, we might never have come into being. To learn more about these beasts, astronomers peer into the heart of nearby galaxies and measure black hole spins, which hint at how black holes formed and grew. And plans are underway to directly observe a black hole!
Article #1: A Quasar In Every Galaxy?
by Robert Irion
Article #2: How Black Holes Helped Build the Universe
by Christopher Wanjek
Article #3: Spinning Hearts of Darkness
by Laura Brenneman
Article #4: Einstein's Shadow
by Camille Carlisle
Learn about black hole theory and more when you download your