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Black Holes 101

29 Mar 2013, 23:04 UTC
Black Holes 101
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Most of what I discuss on this blog has to do directly with gravitational waves. This time I'd like to talk about one of their most talked about exotic sources: black holes. Black holes are an exemplary source because they are highly concentrated mass. Just add a touch of accelerated motion and gravitational waves are emitted in abundance (well, it's not quite that simple and "abundance" is a relative term, but you get the idea). But what are the fundamental concepts that add up to the existence of black holes? That's what we are focusing on now.1. Escape velocityYou've probably noticed that the harder you throw an ball straight up in the air, the higher it goes. We also know that the farther away the ball gets from the Earth, the lower the gravitational attraction is between the ball and the Earth. When you connect these two concepts, you can imagine that there is a speed at which you can throw the ball up and it will never come back down. This is called the escape velocity:We have discussed escape velocity before on this blog (specifically when discussing the conditions an object must have to be 'eaten' by a black ...

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