The Hunt for Intermediate-Mass Black Holes

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Science  28 Jan 2005:
Vol. 307, Issue 5709, pp. 533-534
DOI: 10.1126/science.1107110

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Two types of black holes-stellar black holes and supermassive black holes-are known to exist in the universe. This leaves a large gap in the black hole mass distribution. In her Perspective, Fabbiano investigates whether ultraluminous x-ray sources may be the missing intermediate-mass black holes. She concludes that the evidence is inconclusive; most ultraluminous x-ray sources can be explained without resorting to the intermediate-mass black hole hypothesis, but some of the brightest sources may indeed be intermediate-mass black holes.