Exploring Black Holes




University of Texas at Austin
Mcdonald Observatory

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McDonald Observatory



Introduction: Students discover the properties of black holes based on their understanding of gravity and velocity. They also analyze astronomical images from the Hubble Space Telescope and Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Through an experiment, they define escape velocity. Then they extend this idea to a black hole, which is an object with an escape velocity equal to the speed of light. In the final activity, students become astronomers in charge of a new database of super-massive black holes. Their job is to evaluate new claims to decide if they are valid. They design an evaluation rubric and apply their new understanding of black holes to make their decisions. They also use real scientific data from Dr. Karl Gebhardt's black hole database.

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