All stars die. Massive stars, ten or more times larger than our Sun, can die with a bang or a whimper. The bang -- a supernova, or exploding star -- leaves behind a neutron star, the size of Columbus and mass of our Sun. But, don't dismiss the whimpers -- no dramatic explosion, but almost certainly how black holes are created. Searching for these whimpers for a decade, using the world's largest optical telescope, we appear to have caught a black hole in formation.
Investigating the universe since 1986, Kochanek has worked on its geometry, galaxy properties and supermassive black holes. His present focus: massive stars behaving badly, the lives and deaths of stars more than ten times the mass of our Sun, including ALL the reasons you should be happy Earth does not orbit such a star.