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.
This course focuses on three particularly interesting areas of astronomy that are advancing very rapidly: Extra-Solar Planets, Black Holes, and Dark Energy. Particular attention is paid to current projects that promise to improve our understanding significantly over the next few years. The course explores not just what is known, but what is currently not known, and how astronomers are going about trying to find out.
As one of the world's great universities, Yale traces its roots back to the early 1640s when colonial clergyman sought to establish a school in order to continue the tradition of European education within the Americas. Yale has now grown to educate over 11,000 students from over 100 countries on a 310-acre campus in New Haven, Connecticut. Within the school's 260 buildings are over 2,000 undergraduate programs in 65 departments taught by a distinguished faculty. As Academic Earth's first partner school, Yale has been a leader within the space of OpenCourseWare by consistently delivering on its esteemed mission to expand access to educational materials for all who wish to learn.