Spectral formation in steady state, spherical accretion onto neutron stars and black holes is examined by solving numerically and analytically the equation of radiative transfer. The photons escape diffusively and their energy gains come from their scattering off thermal electrons in the converging flow of the accreting gas. We show that the bulk motion of the flow is more efficient in upscattering photons than thermal Comptonization in the range of non-relativistic electron temperatures. The spectrum observed at infinity is a power law with an exponential turnover at energies of order of the electron rest mass. Especially in the case of accretion into a black hole, the spectral energy power-law index is distributed around 1.5. Because bulk motion near the horizon (1-5 Schwarzschild radii) is most likely a necessary characteristic of accretion into a black hole, we claim that observations of an extended power law up to about m_e_c^2^, formed as a result of bulk motion Comptonization, is a real observational evidence for the existence of an underlying black hole.
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