Black Holes

Jillian's Guide to Black Holes: Forming - Types - Outside - Inside - Finding - References - Websites

I know it's a weird concept for a website to have a Bibliography, Works Cited, and Footnotes. This follows naturally from how this site started as a project for an astronomy class. Citation is always important, even for webpages. The Bibliography contains the books and websites I used as general background material. Works Cited contains specific webpages to which I link for particular objects or information, for instance like articles about specific binaries or supermassive black holes. Footnotes are direct quotes or clarifications to which I refer throughout the site, and they probably won't make sense if you only read them here.


Kaufmann, William J. III; The Cosmic Frontiers of General Relativity; Little, Brown and Company, Boston
ASIN 0316483419

Harrison, Edward R.; Cosmology: the Science of the Universe; Cambridge University Press, Cambridge
ISBN 052166148X

Ferris, Timothy; The Whole Shebang: a State-of-the-Universe(s) Report; Simon and Schuster, New York
ISBN 0-684-81020-4

Mook, Delo E., Vargish, Thomas; Inside Relativity; Princeton University Press, Princeton
ISBN 0-691-02520-7

Begelman, Mitchell, Rees, Martin; Gravity's Fatal Attraction; HAW, New York
ISBN 0-7167-5074-0

Einstein, Albert; Relativity; Three Rivers Press, New York
ISBN 0-517-88441-0

Astronomy magazine

Space Telescope Science Institute and Hubble Space Telescope Public Information

Chandra X-ray Observatory Center

Sloan Digital Sky Survey

Works Cited

MyNASA Electromagnetic Spectrum

Blundell & Bowler 2004: "Symmetry in the Changing Jets of SS 433 and Its True Distance from Us" (more readable version)

Gierlinski et al. (1999) "Accretion Disk in CYG X-1 in the Soft State", Figure 9

NASA: Chandra X-ray telescope: Cyg X-1

Corbel & Fender (2002) "Near-Infrared Synchrotron Emission from the Compact Jet of GX 339-4", Figure 2

NRAO: Very Long Baseline Array radio telescope: Astronomers Get Closest Look Yet At Milky Way's Mysterious Core

NASA: Very Large Array radio telescope: A Monster in the Middle

NASA: Chandra X-ray telescope: Peering Into the Heart of Darkness

NASA: Chandra X-ray telescope: Sagittarius A*: Milky Way Monster Stars in Cosmic Reality Show

Ghez et al. (2008): "Measuring Distance and Properties of the Milky Way's Central Supermassive Black Hole with Stellar Orbits" (TED talk by Andrea Ghez about her work)

Gillessen et al. (2009): "Monitoring Stellar Orbits Around the Massive Black Hole in the Galactic Center" (more readable article ESO0846: "Unprecedented 16-Year Long Study Tracks Stars Orbiting Milky Way Black Hole", also a 5 minute video)

Hawaii University Astro 110: Black holes and quasars

Learning Space: An overview of active galaxies

Astronomy Online: Cosmology - Galaxies

Ohio State University: ASTR 162: Quasars

Monsters in galactic nuclei

STScI-1997-28: "Hubble finds a bare black hole pouring out light"

STScI-1998-22: "Dust Disk Surrounds a Massive Black Hole in Elliptical Galaxy NGC 7052"

STScI-1994-23: "Hubble confirms existence of massive black hole at the heart of active galaxy"

STScI-2000-20: "A Cosmic Searchlight"

STScI-PRC99-43: "Very Long Baseline Array Reveals Formation Region of Giant Cosmic Jet Near a Black Hole"

STScI-1993-03: Hubble Space Telescope Discovers a Double Nucleus in the Core of an Active Galaxy

STScI-1994-23: Hubble Confirms Existence of Massive Black Hole at Heart of Active Galaxy

Perley, Dreher, & Cowan (1984): "The jet and filaments in Cygnus A" (more readable version, and the amazing story of Cygnus A)

NRAO: Artist's rendition of the accretion disk and radio jet around the black hole in the heart of the Seyfert galaxy NGC 4258 (more readable article)

NASA: Chandra and Hubble: 'Death Star' Galaxy Black Hole Fires at Neighboring Galaxy

Nature: Rapid growth of black holes in massive star-forming galaxies (free and more readable article)

NRAO: Surprise: Dwarf Galaxy Harbors Supermassive Black Hole

Seyfert Galaxy NGC 5548 versus normal galaxy NGC 3277

A Survey of Quasar Host Galaxies, by John Bahcall (Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton), Mike Disney (University of Wales) and NASA

STScI-1995-47: "Massive Black Holes Dwell in Most Galaxies, According to Hubble Census"

NRAO: Radio galaxy 3C 353

Galaxy Zoo: Why are mergers important?

Huge Black Holes: Measuring the Monster in the Middle from Fermi E/PO

STScI-2003-03: Hubble Probes the Heart of a Nearby Quasar

NASA: Active Galaxies and Quasars

NRAO: Apparent Superluminal Motion in 3C279

Astronomers find most distant black hole


1: page 287 of The Cosmic Frontiers of General Relativity:
"Indeed, only those primordial black holes with masses greater than a few billion tons (1015 grams) could have survived up to the present time. Therefore, if scientists ever find primordial black holes in space, they would be at least as massive as a typical asteroid yet probably no bigger than an atom. These very tiny objects would be recognized because they emit incredible amounts of energy, probably in the form of very "hard" gamma rays."
2: page 286 of The Cosmic Frontiers of General Relativity:
"The total amount of energy released during the final second of evaporation is equivalent to a billion megaton hydrogen bombs!"
3: Page 285 of The Cosmic Frontiers of General Relativity:
"Consequently, these quantum-mechanical effects discovered by Hawking are totally unimportant in massive black holes.....Black holes whose masses are greater than the mass of the Earth have temperatures less than a tenth of a degree above absolute zero."
Considering that the cosmic background radiation is ± 2° or 3° Kelvin, I figured it's miniscule by comparison, since most black holes have masses much greater than that of the Earth.
4: page 156 of The Cosmic Frontiers of General Relativity:
"In 1975 a team of scientists from Berkeley and Houston announced that they had discovered a magnetic monopole in one of their experiments."
It was a fluke experiment like the room-temperature fusion experiment. Ah, well.
5: page 159 of (I really enjoyed this book) The Cosmic Frontiers of General Relativity:
"This condition violates the famous "law of cosmic censorship" proposed by Roger Penrose. This idea states that "Thou shalt not have naked singularities!"
Hmm. Well, since no one can describe with any accuracy what a singularity looks like (and perhaps because the curvature of spacetime is infinite), physicists get nervous when told that such things can exist in the Real World.
6: page 181 of The Cosmic Frontiers of General Relativity:
"In 1974, Kip S. Thorne published realistic calculations involving black holes. He showed that, under reasonable circumstances, a black hole would be expected to be rotating at the special or canonical value of a = 99.8% M. This is very rapid indeed."
This means that the two event horizons are practically on top of one another. Someone could survive a trip through 'em both (not considering the blue sheet, of course). This also means that the ergosphere of a typical rotating black hole really billows out, which is very useful for finding such a black hole, I think.
7: page 141 The Cosmic Frontiers of General Relativity:
"In order to appreciate more fully the nature of the Kruskal-Szekeres geometry, it is instructive to slice up the Kruskal-Szekeres diagram along spacelike sheets. These sheets will provide embedding diagrams of the warping of space around a black hole. This technique of slicing space-time[sic] along spacelike hypersurfaces was employed earlier..."
The only thing that does not make sense about the whole situation is the time involved. An eternal wormhole pinches off so quickly that not even light can get through. This would involved spacetime changing at or greater than the speed of light. It's okay if it pinches off at the speed of light, but greater than ... eh, that's tricky and no one likes Faster-Than-Light particles.
8: page 197 of The Cosmic Frontiers of General Relativity:
"Figure 12-8 is simply a continuation of Figure 12-5 and is again based on calclulations by C. T. Cunningham. The important fact to notice from the paths of these light rays is that near the center of the black hole they are bent away from the singularity. Although gravity far from the center of a Kerr black hole is attractive and pulls things inward, near the singularity gravity is repulsive and tries to push things out!"
I am grateful to C. T. Cunningham for the easy-to-understand pictures of various light rays hitting the singularity.


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