Observing stellar mass and supermassive black holes
Lomonosov Moscow State University, Shternberg State Astronomical Institute, Universitetskii prosp. 13, Moscow, 119889, Russian Federation
During the last 50 years, large progress has been made in observing stellar mass black holes (BH) in binary systems and supermassive BHs in galactic nuclei. In 1964, Ya B Zeldovich and E E Salpeter showed that in the case of nonspherical accretion of matter onto a BH, huge energy releases occur. Theory of disk accretion of matter onto BHs has been developed in 1972—1973 by Shakura and Sunyaev, Pringle and Rees and Novikov and Thorne. Up to now, 100 years after the creation of Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity that predicts the existence of BHs, masses for tens of stellar mass black holes (MBH = (4—30), Mʘ) and for many hundreds of supermassive BHs (MBH = (106—1010), Mʘ) have been determined. A new field of astrophysics — the so-called BH demography — is developing. The recent discovery of gravitational waves from black hole mergers in binary systems opens a new era in BH studies.