About the Book
Until recently, black holes were often considered as exotic objects of dubious existence. In the last decade, observations have provided overwhelming evidence in favour of the presence of supermassive black holes at the centre of galaxies, including the Milky Way; of stellar-mass black holes in binary stellar systems; and, possibly, of intermediate-mass black holes in ultraluminous X-ray sources in nearby galaxies. Black holes are now widely accepted as real physical entities, playing an important role in modern astrophysics. IAU S238 brought together observers and theoreticians working in black hole astrophysics - from stellar-mass black holes to supermassive ones residing at the centre of galaxies - with the aim of highlighting and discussing similarities in the physics involved. Leading researchers review the subject and report on recent results on accretion discs, relativistic jets, spectroscopy in different spectral bands - from X-rays to radio - and other aspects of black hole astrophysics.