Variability in ultra-luminous X-ray sources
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Many upcoming surveys, particularly in the radio and optical domains, are designed to probe either the temporal and/or the spatial variability of a range of astronomical objects. In the light of these high resolution surveys, we review the subject of ultra-luminous X-ray (ULX) sources, which are thought to be accreting black holes for the most part. We also discuss the sub-class of ULXs known as the hyper-luminous X-ray sources, which may be accreting intermediate mass black holes. We focus on some of the open questions that will be addressed with the new facilities, such as the mass of the black hole in ULXs, their temporal variability and the nature of the state changes, their surrounding nebulae, and the nature of the region in which ULXs reside.