kottke.org posts about black holes
Were you to be close to a black hole, this program shows you what you might observe.
The optical appearance of the stellar sky for an observer in the vicinity of a black hole is dominated by bending of light, frequency shift, and magnification caused by gravitational lensing and aberration. Due to the finite apperture of an observer's eye or a telescope, Fraunhofer diffraction has to be taken into account. Using todays high performance graphics hardware, we have developed a Qt application which enables the user to interactively explore the stellar sky in the vicinity of a Schwarzschild black hole. For that, we determine what an observer, who can either move quasistatically around the black hole or follow a timelike radial geodesic, would actually see.
For Linux and Windows only, although there are sample videos for non-downloaders or those on other machines.
As black holes evaporate, they release Hawking radiation. Named after the legendary Stephen, who first argued for its existence in 1974, Hawking radiation emitted is measured by the mass, angular momentum, and charge of the black hole. Hawking radiation has been predicted to be part of the eventual catalyst for the heat death of the universe, and recent findings suggest that it's possibly closer than astronomers originally calculated. Don't max out your credit cards or adopt a Twinkie diet just yet. Scientists believe that it takes roughly 10^102 years for a supermassive black hole to evaporate, and chances are that global warming, war, or Twinkies will have done in humanity long before then.
A list of 15 uses of tiny black holes, including hazardous waste disposal, cheap transport, and hanging posters without tacks.
It looks like black holes can grow to be as massive as 50 billion suns. How massive is that? It's approximately 99 duodecillion kilograms....which is a 99 followed by 39 zeros. (Put another way, if you had 99 duodecillion dollars, you could buy as many PlayStation 3s as you wanted. Blows your mind, right?)
How to survive a black hole. If you're in a rocket ship about to fall into a black hole, you might live a bit longer if you turn on your engines. "But in general a person falling past the horizon won't have zero velocity to begin with. Then the situation is different -- in fact it's worse. So firing the rocket for a short time can push the astronaut back on to the best-case scenario: the trajectory followed by free fall from rest."
Scientists want to build an array of submillimeter telescopes across the whole earth to peer "inside" the massive black hole at the center of the galaxy.
Update: Many people wrote in to correct me in saying that "submillimeter" referred to the size of the telescopes...it of course referred to the EM wavelength. Me brain not working right.
Astronomers may have detected the formation of a black hole. "A faint visible-light flash moments after a high-energy gamma-ray burst likely heralds the merger of two dense neutron stars to create a relatively low-mass black hole."