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Black holesOrganization logo: Utrecht University

About this course

In this course, we learn some elementary facts about black holes, both from the theoretical side, as well as from the astrophysical side.On the theory side, we discuss aspects of the gravitational force and how it leads to the notion of a black hole and its event horizon. We also discuss orbits and tidal forces around black holes, time dilation and the properties of spacetime when you fall into a black hole. Finally we teach elementary aspects about Penrose diagrams and Hawking radiation.On the astrophysical and observational side, we discuss aspects of stellar collapse, accretion discs around black holes, supermassive black holes like Sagitarrius A* at the centre of our Milky Way, and finally about gravitational waves coming from colliding and merging black holes.body { font-size: 9pt;

On the theory side, we discuss aspects of the gravitational force and how it leads to the notion of a black hole and its event horizon. We also discuss orbits and tidal forces around black holes, time dilation and the properties of spacetime when you fall into a black hole. Finally we teach elementary aspects about Penrose diagrams and Hawking radiation.On the astrophysical and observational side, we discuss aspects of stellar collapse, accretion discs around black holes, supermassive black holes like Sagitarrius A* at the centre of our Milky Way, and finally about gravitational waves coming from colliding and merging black holes.

Learning outcomes

After following this course, the student must

  • understand the theoretical concepts that characterize black holes as described in the course
  • understand the astrophysical description of black holes as described in the course
  • be able to apply the formulas for the Schwarzschild radius, the orbits and the tidal forces around a black hole
  • know the essential properties of Sagittarius A*, the black hole in the center of our Milky Way
  • be able to work with the Schwarzschild solution describing a black hole and the time dilation
  • understand the rotating black hole and the process of extracting energy from it as described in the course, and make some simple exercises about it
  • have some qualitative knowledge about gravitational waves coming from colliding and merging black holes
  • know the meaning of Penrose diagrams
  • make some simple exercises on black hole evaporation and Hawking radiation

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Prior knowledge

The course requires knowledge about special relativity and Newtonian mechanics and gravity (though we will quickly review the essentials). No knowledge about general relativity is needed. While this is essential for the theoretical description of black holes, we simply borrow some formulas from general relativity.

If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of Utrecht University.

Offering(s)

  • Start date

    22 april 2024

    • Ends
      5 juli 2024
    • Term *
      Period 4
    • Location
      Utrecht
    • Instruction language
      Dutch
    • Register between
      29 Jan, 00:00 - 23 Feb 2024
    Only 2 days to enrol
  • Start date

    22 april 2025

    • Ends
      4 juli 2025
    • Term *
      Period 4
    • Location
      Utrecht
    • Instruction language
      Dutch
    • Register between
      27 Jan, 09:00 - 7 Feb 2025
    Enrolment starts in 341 days
These offerings are valid for students of TU Eindhoven