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Staring into the Abyss

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Nearly a century after their discovery, black holes remain one of the most striking, and problematic predictions of general relativity. Even more unsettling is the fact that they actually appear to exist! With only a handful of exceptions, every galaxy contains a supermassive behemoth, millions to billions as massive as the sun, at their center. These supermassive black holes are hardly incidental, they gravitationally power enormous outflows that rule the fates of their hosts. Despite the critical role they play in our understanding of gravity and impact upon the visible universe, actually testing their nature has remained beyond our reach - until now. Dr. Broderick will describe how astronomers are currently constructing (and operating) facilities that will image the horizons of black holes, and what we can already say about these enigmatic monsters in the dark.