Galactic nuclei contain supermassive black holes, perhaps the most fascinating legacy of Einstein’s general theory of relativity. In the last few years, astronomers have discovered deep connections between black holes and the galaxies that contain them. Galactic nuclei are also the sites of uniquely energetic events, including quasars; stellar tidal disruptions; and the generation of gravitational waves. This book is a comprehensive introduction to dynamical processes that occur in the vicinity of supermassive black holes. Topics include observations of galactic nuclei, dynamical models, weighing black holes, motion near supermassive black holes, evolution of nuclei due to gravitational encounters, loss cone theory, and binary supermassive black holes. The book is self-contained and up-to-date, and includes both a summary of the current literature as well as unpublished work by the author.
Princeton Series in Astrophysics