Black holes




In 1916 Albert Einstein presented his general theory of relativity, which included a new concept of the nature of gravitation. In his theory, a massive object actually changes the geometry of the space around it. Other objects sense this altered geometry and respond by being attracted to the first object. The general theory of relativity is beyond our scope in this chapter, but we can look at one of its most startling predictions: the existence of black holes, objects whose gravitational influence is so great that nothing—not even light—can escape them. We can understand the basic idea of a black hole by using Newtonian principles.

Black holes, the schwarzschild radius, and the event horizon

The first expression for escape speed in Eq. (13.29) suggests that a body of mass M will act as a black hole if its radius R is less than or equal to a certain critical radius. How can we determine this critical radius? You might think that you can find the answer by simply setting v = c in Eq. (13.29). As a matter of fact, this does give the correct result, but only because of two compensating errors. The kinetic energy of light is not mc2/2, and the gravitational potential energy near a black hole is not given by Eq. (13.9). In 1916, Karl Schwarzschild used Einstein’s general theory of relativity to derive an expression for the critical radius RS, now called the Schwarzschild radius. The result turns out to be the same as though we had set v = c in Eq. (13.29), so

 Black holes

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Solving for the Schwarzschild radius RS, we find

 Black holes

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If a spherical, nonrotating body with mass M has a radius less than RS, then nothing (not even light) can escape from the surface of the body, and the body is a black hole (Fig. 13.27). In this case, any other body within a distance RS of the center of the black hole is trapped by the gravitational attraction of the black hole and cannot escape from it.

 Black holes

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The surface of the sphere with radius RS surrounding a black hole is called the event horizon: Since light can’t escape from within that sphere, we can’t see events occurring inside. All that an observer outside the event horizon can know about a black hole is its mass (from its gravitational effects on other bodies), its electric charge (from the electric forces it exerts on other charged bodies), and its angular momentum (because a rotating black hole tends to drag space—and everything in that space—around with it). All other information about the body is irretrievably lost when it collapses inside its event horizon.

 

A visit to a Black hole

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At points far from a black hole, its gravitational effects are the same as those of any normal body with the same mass. If the sun collapsed to form a black hole, the orbits of the planets would be unaffected. But things get dramatically different close to the black hole. If you decided to become a martyr for science and jump into a black hole, the friends you left behind would notice several odd effects as you moved toward the event horizon, most of them associated with effects of general relativity.

If you carried a radio transmitter to send back your comments on what was happening, your friends would have to retune their receiver continuously to lower and lower frequencies, an effect called the gravitational red shift. Consistent with this shift, they would observe that your clocks (electronic or biological) would appear to run more and more slowly, an effect called time dilation. In fact, during their lifetimes they would never see you make it to the event horizon.

In your frame of reference, you would make it to the event horizon in a rather short time but in a rather disquieting way. As you fell feet first into the black hole, the gravitational pull on your feet would be greater than that on your head, which would be slightly farther away from the black hole. The differences in gravitational force on different parts of your body would be great enough to stretch you along the direction toward the black hole and compress you perpendicular to it. These effects (called tidal forces) would rip you to atoms, and then rip your atoms apart, before you reached the event horizon.

 

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 Black holes

 

 

 

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Detecting Black holes

If light cannot escape from a black hole and if black holes are as small as Example 13.11 suggests, how can we know that such things exist? The answer is that any gas or dust near the black hole tends to be pulled into an accretion disk that swirls around and into the black hole, rather like a whirlpool (Fig. 13.28, next page). Friction within the accretion disk’s gas causes it to lose mechanical energy and spiral into the black hole; as it moves inward, it is compressed together. This causes heating of the gas, just as air compressed in a bicycle pump gets hotter. Temperatures in excess of 106 K can occur in the accretion disk, so hot that the disk emits not just visible light (as do bodies that are “red-hot” or “white-hot”) but x rays. Astronomers look for these x rays (emitted by the gas material before it crosses the event horizon) to signal the presence of a black hole. Several promising candidates have been found, and astronomers now express considerable confidence in the existence of black holes.

 Black holes

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Black holes in binary star systems like the one depicted in Fig. 13.28 have masses a few times greater than the sun’s mass. There is also mounting evidence for the existence of much larger supermassive black holes. One example lies at the center of our Milky Way galaxy, some 26,000 light-years from earth in the direction of the constellation Sagittarius. High-resolution images of the galactic center reveal stars moving at speeds greater than 1500 km>s about an unseen object that lies at the position of a source of radio waves called Sgr A* (Fig. 13.29).

 Black holes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By analyzing these motions, astronomers can infer the period T and semi-major axis a of each star’s orbit. The mass mX of the unseen object can be calculated from Kepler’s third law in the form given in Eq. (13.17), with the mass of the sun mS replaced by mX:

 Black holes

 

 

The conclusion is that the mysterious dark object at the galactic center has a mass of 8.2 * 1036 kg, or 4.1 million times the mass of the sun. Yet observations with radio telescopes show that it has a radius no more than 4.4 * 1010 m, about one-third of the distance from the earth to the sun. These observations suggest that this massive, compact object is a black hole with a Schwarzschild radius of 1.1 * 1010 m. Astronomers hope to improve the resolution of their observations so that they can actually see the event horizon of this black hole.

Other lines of research suggest that even larger black holes, in excess of 109 times the mass of the sun, lie at the centers of other galaxies. Observational and theoretical studies of black holes of all sizes continue to be an exciting area of research in both physics and astronomy.



Frequently Asked Questions

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Ans: Because the earth rotates on its axis, it is not precisely an inertial frame of reference. For this reason the apparent weight of a body on earth is not precisely equal to the earth’s gravitational attraction, which we will call the true weight w 0 of the body. Figure 13.26 is a cutaway view of the earth, showing three observers. Each one holds a spring scale with a body of mass m hanging from it. view more..
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Ans: We assumed at the beginning that the point mass m was outside the spherical shell, so our proof is valid only when m is outside a spherically symmetric mass distribution. view more..
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Ans: Any spherically symmetric mass distribution can be thought of as a combination of concentric spherical shells. Because of the principle of superposition of forces, what is true of one shell is also true of the combination. So we have proved half of what we set out to prove: that the gravitational interaction between any spherically symmetric mass distribution and a point mass is the same as though all the mass of the spherically symmetric distribution were concentrated at its center. view more..
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Ans: In 1916 Albert Einstein presented his general theory of relativity, which included a new concept of the nature of gravitation. In his theory, a massive object actually changes the geometry of the space around it view more..
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Ans: Think first about the properties of our own sun. Its mass M = 1.99 * 1030 kg and radius R = 6.96 * 108 m are much larger than those of any planet, but compared to other stars, our sun is not exceptionally massive view more..
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Ans: The first expression for escape speed in Eq. (13.29) suggests that a body of mass M will act as a black hole if its radius R is less than or equal to a certain critical radius. view more..
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Ans: At points far from a black hole, its gravitational effects are the same as those of any normal body with the same mass. If the sun collapsed to form a black hole, the orbits of the planets would be unaffected. But things get dramatically different close to the black hole. view more..
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Ans: If light cannot escape from a black hole and if black holes are small . how can we know that such things exist? The answer is that any gas or dust near the black hole tends to be pulled into an accretion disk that swirls around and into the black hole, rather like a whirlpool view more..
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Ans: HERE ISA SUMMARY OF GRAVITATION , FOR QUICK REVISION view more..
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Ans: Many kinds of motion repeat themselves over and over: the vibration of a quartz crystal in a watch, the swinging pendulum of a grandfather clock, the sound vibrations produced by a clarinet or an organ pipe, and the back-and-forth motion of the pistons in a car engine. This kind of motion, called periodic motion or oscillation view more..
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Ans: n. A body with mass m rests on a frictionless horizontal guide system, such as a linear air track, so it can move along the x-axis only. The body is attached to a spring of negligible mass that can be either stretched or compressed. The left end of the spring is held fixed, and the right end is attached to the body. The spring force is the only horizontal force acting on the body; the vertical normal and gravitational forces always add to zero view more..
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Ans: Here are some terms that we’ll use in discussing periodic motions of all kinds: view more..
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Ans: The simplest kind of oscillation occurs when the restoring force Fx is directly proportional to the displacement from equilibrium x. This happens if the spring in Figs. 14.1 and 14.2 is an ideal one that obeys Hooke’s law view more..
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Ans: To explore the properties of simple harmonic motion, we must express the displacement x of the oscillating body as a function of time, x1t2. view more..
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Ans: the period and frequency of simple harmonic motion are completely determined by the mass m and the force constant k. In simple harmonic motion the period and frequency do not depend on the amplitude A. view more..
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Ans: We still need to find the displacement x as a function of time for a harmonic oscillator. Equation (14.4) for a body in SHM along the x-axis is identical to Eq. (14.8) for the x-coordinate of the reference point in uniform circular motion with constant angular speed v = 2k/m view more..
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Ans: We can learn even more about simple harmonic motion by using energy considerations. The only horizontal force on the body in SHM in Figs. 14.2 and 14.13 is the conservative force exerted by an ideal spring. The vertical forces do no work, so the total mechanical energy of the system is conserved. We also assume that the mass of the spring itself is negligible. view more..
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Ans: the energy quantities E, K, and U at x = 0, x = ±A/2, and x = ±A. Figure 14.15 is a graphical display of Eq. (14.21); energy (kinetic, potential, and total) is plotted vertically and the coordinate x is plotted horizontally. The parabolic curve in Fig. 14.15a represents the potential energy U = 1/2 kx2 . The horizontal line represents the total mechanical energy E, which is constant and does not vary with x. view more..




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