Stellar-mass black holes announce themselves with a fiery burst of x-rays, as matter falls down onto the accretion disk and heats up violently.


And the way we've found black holes, to date, is we find these things that are actually very, very bright. And from how bright they are we know they must be very, very massive. And because we see them change in brightness very quickly we also know they must be very small. So these two things: the fact that they are very massive, because they are so bright, and that they are very small because they vary really quickly, tell us that they must be incredibly tiny and incredibly dense.
Mike Garcia
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics



Black Holes: From Fantasy to Fact
A history of black holes from seeing them as part of science fiction to the facts today.

Stellar Mass Black Holes
Explains how stellar mass black holes are formed.

How Do Massive Black Holes Grow?
An explanation on the growth of massive black holes.

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