For Further Exploration: Active Galaxies, Quasars, and Supermassive Black Holes


Bartusiak, M. "A Beast in the Core." Astronomy (July 1998): 42. On supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies.

Disney, M. "A New Look at Quasars." Scientific American (June 1998): 52.

Djorgovski, S. "Fires at Cosmic Dawn." Astronomy (September 1995): 36. On quasars and what we can learn from them.

Ford, H., & Tsvetanov, Z. "Massive Black Holes at the Hearts of Galaxies." Sky & Telescope (June 1996): 28. Nice overview.

Irion, R. "A Quasar in Every Galaxy?" Sky & Telescope (July 2006): 40. Discusses how supermassive black holes powering the centers of galaxies may be more common than thought.

Kormendy, J. "Why Are There so Many Black Holes?" Astronomy (August 2016): 26. Discussion of why supermassive black holes are so common in the universe.

Kruesi, L. "Secrets of the Brightest Objects in the Universe." Astronomy (July 2013): 24. Review of our current understanding of quasars and how they help us learn about black holes.

Miller, M., et al. "Supermassive Black Holes: Shaping their Surroundings." Sky & Telescope (April 2005): 42. Jets from black hole disks.

Nadis, S. "Exploring the Galaxy–Black Hole Connection." Astronomy (May 2010): 28. Overview.

Nadis, S. "Here, There, and Everywhere." Astronomy (February 2001): 34. On Hubble observations showing how common supermassive black holes are in galaxies.

Nadis, S. "Peering inside a Monster Galaxy." Astronomy (May 2014): 24. What X-ray observations tell us about the mechanism that powers the active galaxy M87.

Olson, S. "Black Hole Hunters." Astronomy (May 1999): 48. Profiles four astronomers who search for "hungry" black holes at the centers of active galaxies.

Peterson, B. "Solving the Quasar Puzzle." Sky & Telescope (September 2013): 24. A review article on how we figured out that black holes were the power source for quasars, and how we view them today.

Tucker, W., et al. "Black Hole Blowback." Scientific American (March 2007): 42. How supermassive black holes create giant bubbles in the intergalactic medium.

Voit, G. "The Rise and Fall of Quasars." Sky & Telescope (May 1999): 40. Good overview of how quasars fit into cosmic history.

Wanjek, C. "How Black Holes Helped Build the Universe." Sky & Telescope (January 2007): 42. On the energy and outflow from disks around supermassive black holes; nice introduction.


Monsters in Galactic Nuclei: An article on supermassive black holes by John Kormendy, from StarDate magazine.

Quasar Astronomy Forty Years On: A 2003 popular article by William Keel.

Quasars and Active Galactic Nuclei: An annotated gallery of images showing the wide range of activity in galaxies. There is also an introduction, a glossary, and background information. Also by William Keel.

Quasars: "The Light Fantastic": This brief "backgrounder" from the public information office at the HubbleSite gives a bit of the history of the discovery and understanding of quasars.


Black Hole Chaos: The Environments of the Most Supermassive Black Holes in the Universe: May 2013 lecture by Dr. Belinda Wilkes and Dr. Francesca Civano of the Center for Astrophysics in the CfA Observatory Nights Lecture Series (50:14).

Hubble and Black Holes: Hubblecast on black holes and active galactic nuclei (9:10).

Monster Black Holes: May 2013 lecture by Professor Chung-Pei Ma of the University of California, Berkeley; part of the Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series (1:18:03).

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