Black Holes
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Black holes serve as an excellent hook to get students excited. This resource has activities on gravitation, relativity, Kepler’s laws, orbits, the Doppler shift, gravitational lensing, and scientific models that all connect with black holes.
What Is at the Heart of the Milky Way Galaxy?
Students plot real astronomical data and use Kepler’s third law to determine the mass of the supermassive black hole at the heart of the Milky Way galaxy.
The Making of the Image of M87*
Students use pencils and flashlights to understand the relationship between resolution and telescope size. They apply this to determine the resolution of the Event Horizon Telescope, which captured the first direct image of a black hole.
What’s Making the X-rays in Cygnus?
Students do an experiment on the Doppler shift of sound with a smartphone and a Bluetooth speaker. They transfer this concept to the real astronomical data that led to the discovery of a stellar-mass black hole.
Escape Speed and Black Holes
Students create a gravity well with stretchy fabric to discover the factors that determine the escape speed of objects. They use this experience and the concept of Newtonian gravity to explain some properties of black holes.
General Relativity and Black Holes
Students use stretchy fabric and painter’s tape to model curved space in Einstein’s theory of general relativity. They use the model to demonstrate gravitational lensing near black holes.
How Do You Make a Black Hole?
Students explore the forces that support a star against gravitational collapse. They use real data to determine which stars will become black holes at the end of their life.