Accretion signatures of intermediate mass black holes in globular clusters

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The first indicators of the existence of stellar mass black holes and supermassive black holes came not from direct dynamical evidence but from accretion and associated jet production, respectively. In this article, I review the methodology associated with searches for intermediate mass black holes in globular clusters, as well as the observational results of such searches. At the present time, there is no strong evidence for accretion from intermediate mass black holes in globular clusters, and, in some cases, the inferred upper limits are at odds with the results inferred from dynamical studies. I will discuss possible explanations for these discrepancies. Finally, I will also discuss the case of HLX-1, which does show strong evidence for being an accreting intermediate mass black hole, but which is more likely to be in a young dense star cluster than a bona fide globular cluster.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559-562
Number of pages4
JournalMemorie della Societa Astronomica Italiana - Journal of the Italian Astronomical Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2016
Event2016 Cosmic-Lab Conference: Star Clusters as Cosmic Laboratories for Astrophysics, Dynamics and Fundamental Physics, MODEST 2016 - Bologna, Italy
Duration: Apr 18 2016Apr 22 2016


  • Accretion, accretion disks
  • Globular clusters: general
  • Stars: black holes


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