MASON ASTR 302 - Black Holes (29 pages)

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Black Holes



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Black Holes

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Pages:
29
School:
George Mason University
Course:
Astr 302 - Foundations of Cosmological Thought

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Black Holes Guiding Questions 1 What are the two central ideas behind Einstein s special theory of relativity 2 How do astronomers search for black holes 3 What are super massive black holes and where are they found 4 In what sense is a black hole black 5 In what way are black holes actually simpler than any other objects in astronomy 6 What happens to an object that falls into a black hole 7 Why do some pulsars emit fantastic amounts of X rays 8 Do black holes last forever Recall Life Cycle of Stars The special theory of relativity and our conceptions of space and time This theory published by Einstein in 1905 is based on the notion that there is no such thing as absolute space or time Space and time are not wholly independent of each other but are aspects of a single entity called spacetime The speed of light is the same to all observers no matter how fast they are moving An observer will note a slowing of clocks and a shortening of rulers that are moving with respect to the observer This effect becomes significant only if the clock or ruler is moving at a substantial fraction of the speed of light The general theory of relativity as a description of gravitation Published by Einstein in 1915 this is a theory of gravity A massive object causes space to curve and time to slow down These effects manifest themselves as a gravitational force These distortions of space and time are most noticeable in the vicinity of large masses or compact objects The theory of relativity predicts a number of phenomena including the bending of light by gravity and the gravitational redshift whose existence has been confirmed by observation and experiment The general theory of relativity also predicts the existence of gravitational waves which are ripples in the overall geometry of space and time produced by moving masses Gravitational waves have been detected indirectly and specialized antennas are under construction to make direct measurement of the gravitational waves from cosmic



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