SLAC Public Lecture Series
Black Holes, the Brightest Objects in the Universe
Black holes are everywhere in the Universe. They form when massive stars end their life in a simultaneous violent collapse and energetic explosion. Galaxies end up littered with small black holes, each roughly the mass of ten Suns. Nearly every galaxy center ends up with a single huge black hole, with the mass of a million to a billion Suns. During their lifetimes, black holes chew up their surroundings and spew out ultra-energetic beams of radiation and matter that are visible from across the Universe. In this lecture, I will discuss how black holes form, outline how we detect them, and show movies that illustrate how they work according to Einstein and state-of-the-art computer simulations. We will see that these blackest of all objects in the Universe actually shine the brightest.