In our imagination, black holes evoke mystery and destruction. Science fiction has often depicted them as portals to inaccessible parallel universes. What do we really know about black holes and their characteristics? How does one infer their presence in space? How do they influence the lives of galaxies? This book provides an account of black holes from the first inklings about their existence in the late 18th century, through classical mechanics and relativity theory, up to the latest discoveries. The author tells the reader everything he knows about one of the most fascinating topics in contemporary physics.
Alessandro Marconi teaches Introductory Astrophysics, Cosmology and Galactic Physics at the University of Florence.