Is there a comprehensive catalog of all known black holes? If "yes" - does it include the method of the black hole discovery and it's location in the Universe? Are black holes, detected only by the capture of gravitational waves, generated due to their merge with another black hole or with neutron star, listed there?

See the example of naming in the quote below:

"Dr. Stefan Dreizler, an astronomer at the University of Göttingen and his colleagues analyzed data collected over two years with the MUSE instrument. The new data from the University of Warsaw’s Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment (OGLE) and the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope enabled the team to measure the mass of the black hole and confirm their findings. Named NGC 1850 BH1, the black hole is roughly 11 times as massive as our Sun."


  • $\begingroup$ Are you aware of black holes in x-ray binaries? $\endgroup$ Nov 25 '21 at 20:59
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    $\begingroup$ Could you edit the "scientifically" out of your title? How else would it be kept, if it exists? Unscientifically, bu Covid-19 denialists? It's somewhat confusing when reading your question. Contrary to popular thinking, the word 'scientific' isn't a magic faerie that makes all problems go away in an argument. $\endgroup$ Nov 25 '21 at 23:22
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    $\begingroup$ Related if not duplicate: astronomy.stackexchange.com/q/39117/34513 $\endgroup$ Nov 26 '21 at 9:24
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    $\begingroup$ "Are black holes, detected only by the capture of gravitational waves"? And then you quote an example of one that has been discovered by gravitational lensing... $\endgroup$
    – ProfRob
    Nov 26 '21 at 15:25
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    $\begingroup$ @ProfRob The quoted BH example (NGC 1850 BH1) was discovered by measuring radial velocity variations in the visible companion; no gravitational lensing was involved. (You have to read the actual paper to understand this; the sci-news.com article is a garbled condensation of an ESO press release.) $\endgroup$ Nov 26 '21 at 16:28

No, this doesn't seem to exist.

Hard to prove a negative, but if such a thing existed then you'd expect it to be referenced by Wikipedia (etc). It would be a very useful source for its "List of Black Holes". No such catalogue is mentioned which tends to suggest it doesn't exist.

Secondly, most catalogues list sources, not objects. So there are catalogues of "X-ray sources". Some of these sources are interpreted as being stellar-mass black-holes.

There are many types of observation that can imply a black hole: AGC, X-ray binary, Lensing events, Gravitational wave and others. As catalogues list observations and sources, not objects, you are less likely to find a "catalogue" of black holes.

Many objects are only "probably" black holes, or "possible black holes", with different levels of uncertainty. This also tends to prevent a comprehensive catalogue. For some sources the evidence that the object is a black hole is stronger, for others it is more equivocal.

However see Robert Johnston's list of black hole candidates although it is rather outdated.

The Catalog of High-Mass X-Ray Binaries in the Galaxy lists sources of X-rays, identifying those that are black hole candidates. It doesn't claim to be a comprehensive list of black holes, and excludes those found by (for example) lensing.

Finally, it is thought that every (or nearly every) substantial galaxy has a supermassive black-hole. To create a truly comprehensive catalogue, you would need to include several billion galaxies...

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    $\begingroup$ Not sure what you are asking here. But I don't think it changes my answer. No there is no catalogue that fulfils your criteria $\endgroup$
    – James K
    Nov 26 '21 at 2:05
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    $\begingroup$ This is correct: there is no such general catalog. (Speaking as someone who studies supermassive black holes and would probably know about such a thing if it existed.) $\endgroup$ Nov 26 '21 at 14:30
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    $\begingroup$ @DaddyKropotkin The question specifically mentions GW detections (which are in yet another specialized catalog). $\endgroup$ Nov 26 '21 at 16:31
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    $\begingroup$ @Alex There certainly isn't any such naming convention for supermassive black holes, and most stellar-mass black holes are named for their associated visible (or X-ray) source (e.g., Cygnus X-1, SS 433). I can find only one other use of "BH1" for a black-hole candidate, which is the "failed supernova" N6946-BH1 in the galaxy NGCC 6946 (e.g., ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2019RNAAS...3..164H/abstract). Perhaps we're seeing the beginning of a naming convention... (Side note: NGC 1850 is a star cluster in the Large Magellanic Cloud, not a galaxy.) $\endgroup$ Nov 26 '21 at 18:23
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    $\begingroup$ @Alex NGC 1850 is star cluster inside the Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy; it is not a separate galaxy (and it is especially not an Ultra Compact or Ultra Faint Dwarf galaxy, which is what the paper you link to is about). en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NGC_1850 $\endgroup$ Nov 27 '21 at 11:31

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