Table of Contents

1. The most powerful objects in the universe.
1.1. Beacons at the edge of reality.
1.2. The host galaxies of quasars.
1.3. The active nuclei of "normal" galaxies.
2. Weighing supermassive objects.
2.1. Accretion of plasma.
2.2. Deciphering the signal from the infalling gas.
2.3. The center of our galaxy.
3. The black hole spacetime.
3.1. The inexorable force of gravity.
3.2. Unseen dimensions.
3.3. Matter's futile resistance to total collapse.
3.4. The black hole spacetime.
3.5. Rotating black holes.
4. Formation of supermassive black holes.
4.1. Primordial seeds.
4.2. Galaxy types.
4.3. The supermassive black hole census.
4.4. Galaxy collisions.
4.5. Collision of Andromeda with the Milky Way.
4.6. Middleweight black holes.
5. Relativistic ejection of plasma.
5.1. Imaging supermassive black holes.
5.2. Jets from supermassive black holes.
5.3. Faster than light motion.
6. Supermassive black holes in the universe.
6.1. The Hubble Deep Field.
6.2. The Chandra Deep Filed.
6.3. The universe aglow.
6.4. Future directions.
6.5. Is the universe itself a big black hole?.
6.6. Ultimate fate. Answers to some of the most intriguing questions now being asked about black holes.