February 12, 1998 CfA Colloquium

Title: The Search for Black Holes

Speaker: Ramesh Narayan

Abstract: Astronomers have discovered many potential black holes in X-ray binaries and galactic nuclei. These black holes are usually identified by the fact that they are ultra-compact and too massive to be neutron stars. The talk will describe some recent work that seems to demonstrate that black hole candidates actually have event horizons. This is the result of extensive applications of a class of accretion models, called advection-dominated accretion flows. In these flows, the black hole nature of the accreting star, specifically its event horizon, plays an important role. Comparisons of model predictions against observations provide tantalizing evidence that some black hole candidates do indeed possess event horizons.

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