Is There a Massive Black Hole in Every Galaxy?

  • M. J. Rees
Part of the Reviews in Modern Astronomy book series (MOD.ASTRONOMY, volume 2)


The theoretical study of black holes in Einstein’s theory dates back to Karl Schwarzschild’s classic work in 1916. The realisation that such objects might actually exist is of more recent vintage. Recently, however, suggestive evidence has accumulated that black holes exist in galactic nuclei. In this lecture I shall discuss the dark objects, probably massive black holes, which lurk at the centres of such normal galaxies as M31, and perhaps even our own. This subject is approached ‘historically’ by considering the cosmic history of the quasar population. The evidence for massive black holes in the centres of some nearby galaxies is reviewed. Some interesting observational consequences (e.g. flares from tidally disrupted stars) are proposed and discussed.


Black Hole Orbital Plane Massive Black Hole Escape Velocity Loss Cone 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. J. Rees
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of AstronomyUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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