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Frontiers and Controversies in Astrophysics - Lecture 15

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Lecture 15 - Supermassive Black Holes

The lecture begins with a question-and-answer session about black holes. Topics include the extent to which we are sure black holes exist in the center of all galaxies, how massive they are, and how we can observe them. The lecture then turns to strong-field relativity: relativistic effects that are unrelated to Newtonian theory. The possibility of testing predictions of the existence of black holes is discussed in the context of strong-field relativity. One way we might learn about black holes is through observation of the orbit of the companion star in an X-ray binary star system. Through this we can estimate the mass of the compact object. The lecture ends with an explanation of how astronomers find black holes, and how Professor Bailyn was able to discover one himself.

Prof. Charles Bailyn
ASTR 160 - Frontiers and Controversies in Astrophysics, Spring 2007
(Yale University: Open Yale)
Date accessed: 2009-05-12
License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

Lecture Material

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Supplementary lecture material is listed below.

1. Midterm Exam 2 Preparation Handout



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