NASA Visualization Rounds Up the Best-Known Black Hole Systems
Nearby black holes and their stellar companions form an astrophysical rogues’ gallery in this new NASA visualization.
Stars born with more than about 20 times the Sun’s mass end their lives as black holes. As the name implies, black holes don’t glow on their own because nothing can escape them, not even light. Until 2015, when astronomers first detected merging black holes through the space-time ripples called gravitational waves, the main way to find these ebony enigmas was to search for them in binary systems where they interacted with companion stars. And the best way to do that was to look in X-rays.