Abstract:
Supermassive black holes are common in centers of galaxies. Among the active galaxies, quasars are the most extreme, and their black hole masses range as high as to $6\cdot 10^{10} M_\odot$. Binary black holes are of special interest but so far OJ287 is the only confirmed case with known orbital elements. In OJ287, the binary nature is confirmed by periodic radiation pulses. The period is twelve years with two pulses per period. The last four pulses have been correctly predicted with the accuracy of few weeks, the latest in 2007 with the accuracy of one day. This accuracy is high enough that one may test the higher order terms in the Post Newtonian approximation to General Relativity. The precession rate per period is $39^\circ.1 \pm 0^\circ.1$, by far the largest rate in any known binary, and the $(1.83\pm 0.01)\cdot 10^{10} M_\odot$ primary is among the dozen biggest black holes known. We will discuss the various Post Newtonian terms and their effect on the orbit solution. The over 100 year data base of optical variations in OJ287 puts limits on these terms and thus tests the ability of Einstein's General Relativity to describe, for the first time, dynamic binary black hole spacetime in the strong field regime. The quadrupole-moment contributions to the equations of motion allows us to constrain the `no-hair' parameter to be $1.0\:\pm\:0.3$ which supports the black hole no-hair theorem within the achievable precision.

Abstract:
The central black-hole masses of a sample of radio-loud quasars are estimated by using the data of $H_{\beta}$ line-width and the optical continuum luminosity. The vast majority of the quasars in this sample have black-hole masses larger than $10^{8} M_{\odot}$, while a few quasars may contain relatively smaller black-holes. We found a significant anti-correlation between the radio-loudness and the central black-hole mass. It might imply that the jet formation is governed by the black-hole mass.

Abstract:
We present a progress report on a project whose goal is to improve both the precision and accuracy of everberation-based black-hole masses. Reverberation masses appear to be accurate to a factor of about three, and the black-hole mass/bulge velocity dispersion relationship appears to be the same in active and quiescent galaxies.

Abstract:
Self-gravitating SU(2) Higgs magnetic monopoles exist up to a critical value of the ratio of the vector meson mass to the Planck mass, which depends on the Higgs boson mass. At the critical value a critical solution with a degenerate horizon is reached. As pointed out by Lue and Weinberg, there are two types of critical solutions, with a transition at an intermediate Higgs boson mass. Here we investigate this transition for black holes, and reconsider it for the case of gravitating monopoles.

Abstract:
We suggest that high-mass black holes; i.e., black holes of several solar masses, can be formed in binaries with low-mass main-sequence companions, provided that the hydrogen envelope of the massive star is removed in common envelope evolution which begins only after the massive star has finished He core burning. Our evolution scenario naturally explains the gap (low probability region) in the observed black hole masses.

Abstract:
We analyze the relationship between quasilocal masses calculated for solutions of conformally related theories. We show that the ADM mass of a static, spherically symmetric solution is conformally invariant (up to a constant factor) only if the background action functional is conformally invariant. Thus, the requirement of conformal invariance places restrictions on the choice of reference spacetimes. We calculate the mass of the black hole solutions obtained by Garfinkle, Horowitz, and Strominger (GHS) for both the string and the Einstein metrics. In addition, the quasilocal thermodynamic quantities in the string metrics are computed and discussed.

Abstract:
We argue that the observed correlations between central black holes masses M_{BH} and galactic bulge velocity dispersions \sigma_e in the form M_{BH}\propto\sigma_e^4 may witness on the pregalactic origin of massive black holes. Primordial black holes would be the centers for growing protogalaxies which experienced multiple mergers with ordinary galaxies. This process is accompanied by the merging of black holes in the galactic nuclei.

Abstract:
Stellar-mass black holes and neutron stars represent extremes in gravity, density, and magnetic fields. They therefore serve as key objects in the study of multiple frontiers of physics. In addition, their origin (mainly in core-collapse supernovae) and evolution (via accretion or, for neutron stars, magnetic spindown and reconfiguration) touch upon multiple open issues in astrophysics. In this review, we discuss current mass and spin measurements and their reliability for neutron stars and stellar-mass black holes, as well as the overall importance of spins and masses for compact object astrophysics. Current masses are obtained primarily through electromagnetic observations of binaries, although future microlensing observations promise to enhance our understanding substantially. The spins of neutron stars are straightforward to measure for pulsars, but the birth spins of neutron stars are more difficult to determine. In contrast, even the current spins of stellar-mass black holes are challenging to measure. As we discuss, major inroads have been made in black hole spin estimates via analysis of iron lines and continuum emission, with reasonable agreement when both types of estimate are possible for individual objects, and future X-ray polarization measurements may provide additional independent information. We conclude by exploring the exciting prospects for mass and spin measurements from future gravitational wave detections, which are expected to revolutionize our understanding of strong gravity and compact objects.

Abstract:
We report the first results of a program to measure accurate stellar velocity dispersions in the bulges of the host galaxies of active galactic nuclei (AGNs) for which accurate black hole (BH) masses have been determined via reverberation mapping. We find good agreement between BH masses obtained from reverberation mapping, and from the M(BH) - sigma relation as defined by quiescent galaxies, indicating a common relationship between active and quiescent black holes and their large-scale environments.

Abstract:
The Brill-Lindquist time-symmetric initial-value solution for two uncharged black holes is rederived using the Hamiltonian constraint equation with Dirac delta distributions as a source for the binary black-hole field. The bare masses of the Brill-Lindquist black holes are introduced in a way which is applied, after straightforward modification, to the Misner-Linquist binary black-hole solution.