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Real Images of Actual Black Holes. Extraordinary Evidence for an Incredible Idea. Presented by: Name, Affiliation. Location and Date here. A Brief Summary of Black Holes.

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Real Images of Actual Black Holes

Extraordinary Evidence for an Incredible Idea

Presented by: Name, Affiliation

Location and Date here

a brief summary of black holes
A Brief Summary of Black Holes

Stellar-mass black holesThe most massive stars end their lives in titanic explosions, leaving nothing behind but their ultra-dense collapsed cores.

Mid-mass black holesA new class of recently-discovered black holes have masses on the order of hundreds or thousands of stars.

Supermassive black holesThe centers of galaxies contain giant black holes, with the masses of millions, even billions, of stars.

We cannot see black holes directly, but their influence on the matter around them reveals their presence.

Representations above are artists’ impressions, and not to scale.

x ray binary visible light view
X-ray Binary: Visible Light View

Sloan Digital Sky Survey

Many of the stars in our universe come in pairs. Ordinary stars orbiting around a black hole will appear to “wobble” in the sky.

x ray binary x ray light view
X-ray Binary: X-ray Light View


More dramatically, matter being pulled off the orbiting star, into the accretion disk of the black hole, glows brightly in x-rays.

globular cluster visible light view
Globular Cluster: Visible Light View

W. Keel (U. Alabama), et al.. 1.54-m Telescope, Chile

Globular clusters are large, dense clusters of stars. These stars are among the oldest stars in our universe.

globular cluster x ray light view
Globular Cluster: X-ray Light View

NASA / CXC / CfA/J. Grindlay & C. Heinke

Stars orbiting around black holes inside these ancient clusters are revealed by the x-ray glow of matter around them.

milky way center visible light view
Milky Way Center: Visible Light View

W. Keel (U. Alabama), et al.. 1.54-m Telescope, Chile

The heart of our galaxy is a veritable soup of stars, gas, and dust. On a clear night in a dark sky, the view is breathtaking.

milky way center x ray light view
Milky Way Center: X-ray Light View

NASA / U.Mass / D. Wang, et al.

Lurking within our galaxy’s hot, turbulent center are x-ray binaries, neutron stars, and even a supermassive black hole.

spiral galaxy visible light view
Spiral Galaxy: Visible Light View

NOAO / AURA / NSF/ T. Boroson

Like our own Milky Way, M74 is a majestic spiral. The swirling spiral arms house a menagerie of stars and stellar material.

spiral galaxy x ray light view
Spiral Galaxy: X-ray Light View

NASA/CXC / U. Michigan / J. Liu et al.

X-ray observations of strange new sources provide evidence for a new class of black holes, with the mass of 10,000 stars.

spiral galaxy multi wavelength view
Spiral Galaxy: Multi-wavelength View

NASA / CXC / U. Michigan / J. Liu et al.NOAO / AURA / NSF / T. Boroson

Combining x-ray and visible light observations can pinpoint the locations of black hole, providing a more complete picture.

spiral galaxies an x ray gallery
Spiral Galaxies: An X-ray Gallery

NASA / CXC / SAO / R. DiStefano, et al.

Thanks to the Chandra X-ray Observatory, these “mid-mass” black holes are becoming part of the story for all galaxies.

elliptical galaxy visible and x ray views
Elliptical Galaxy: Visible and X-ray Views

Digital Sky Survey

NASA / CXC / UVA / C. Sarazin, et al.

Indeed, most (if not all) galaxies are now thought to house a variety of black holes, ranging in mass from small to large.

deep field galaxies x ray view
Deep Field Galaxies: X-ray View

NASA / CXC / PSU /D. M. Alexander, F. E. Bauer, W. N. Brandt, et al.

Looking out deep into space and back in time, we see supermassive black holes in the cores of the earliest galaxies.

colliding galaxies a black hole merger
Colliding Galaxies: A Black Hole Merger

If animation does not play automatically, download animation “Galaxy Merger and Chandra Data” from

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NASA / CXC / MPE / S. Komossa, et al.

J. Barnes (U.Hawaii)J. Hubbard (NRAO)

Actual observations provide evidence and data for computer simulations. What does it look like when black holes collide?

centaurus a visible light view
Centaurus A: Visible Light View

M. Rejkuba (ESO-Garching) et al., ISAAC, VLTANTU telescope, ESO Paranal Observatory

Centaurus A is a nearby galaxy that is thought to be the result of a merger of two smaller galaxies. What’s behind the dust?

centaurus a x ray light view
Centaurus A: X-ray Light View

NASA / SAO / R. Kraft, et al.

A telltale sign of a black hole is a high-energy jet blasting into space. This galaxy has a supermassive black hole in its center!

elliptical galaxy visible and x ray views1
Elliptical Galaxy: Visible and X-ray Views

Palomar Observatory, Digitized Sky Survey

NASA / CXC / M. Forman, et al.

The elliptical galaxy M87 also houses a monster in its middle: the most massive black hole yet observed in our universe.

black holes galore
Black Holes Galore!

NASA/CXC/U.Amsterdam/S.Migliari et al.

NASA/CXC/SAO/H.Marshall et al.

NASA/CXC/MIT/F.K.Baganoff et al.

X-ray: NASA/CXC/MIT/UCSB/P.Ogle et al.

Optical: NASA/STScI/A.Capetti et al

NASA/UMD/A.Wilson et al.

From the formation of galaxies to the deaths of stars, black holes are an integral part of our universe’s history.


This slide show was created for:

Inside Einstein’s Universe

Black hole images in this presentation are courtesy:

NASA’s Chandra X-ray Center at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

To learn more about black holes, visit: