AAS 203rd Meeting, January 2004
Session 102 HEAD II: Intermediate Mass Black Holes
Oral, Wednesday, January 7, 2004, 2:00-3:30pm, Centennial I/II

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[102.02] Intermediate-Mass Black Holes: Formation and Theoretical Constraints

R.P. van der Marel (STScI)

Astronomers have long believed that black holes naturally form in the Universe in two mass ranges. Stellar-mass black holes form when a heavy star collapses under its own weight in a supernova explosion, and have been identified in X-ray binaries. Super-massive black holes probably form as a byproduct of galaxy formation, and are found in the centers of galaxies where they sometimes generate prodigious activity. However, black holes could have formed in the Universe in different mass ranges. Intermediate mass black holes of 102-105 solar masses are an especially interesting possibility. I will review the possible formation mechanisms for such black holes, as well as theoretical constraints on their existence.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35#5
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.