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Black Holes Research and Report

Extracts from this document...


Chris Baynes        Research and Report        A2 Physics


Page number

3                What is a Black Hole?

                        Black Hole anatomy

4                Types of Black Hole

5                Event horizon radius

6                 Mass of a black hole

7                Hawking radiation

8                What happens when Black Holes Collide?

                        Gravitational lensing

10                Einstein rings


11                References

Black Holes

By doing this assignment I aim to gain a better understanding of the physics behind

Black Holes

What is a Black Hole?

To understand a black hole, you must first have an understanding of gravity in space. Imagine yourself on a trampoline; you make an indentation in the trampoline fabric. If someone was to roll a ball past you on the trampoline, it would begin to spiral towards you, down into the indent you have made. This is very similar to the way gravity works in space and time. The ‘fabric of spacetime’ is an imaginary mesh running through space (see right) which can be deformed and warped by the gravity of stars and planets. This is the principle upon which black holes work. image11.png

A black hole essentially is an incredibly compact body which has warped space-time enough to make any escape from the force of gravity impossible. They are thought to be at the centre of galaxies, including our own Milky Way.

...read more.


Stellar-mass – these black holes are easier to comprehend as they are about the same size as the Earth. It is difficult to distinguish between stellar black holes and neutron stars as the size between the stars that form them is very similar, but like all black holes the matter entering them emits x-rays, proving them to be one or the other.

Micro black hole – also known as quantum mechanical black holes, they are tiny hypothetical black holes which have not yet been discovered, but are a very possible occurence.

Finding the Radius of the Event Horizon

To find the radius of the event horizon of a black hole,physicists first need use equations of potential gravitational field strength and kinetic energy...




The total energy of the object in question, in this case a black hole, can be found by summing up the kinetic and potential energies...


Now substituting in the equations we get...


        We can then work out the escape velocity needed to escape the bodies gravitational field...

        Eventually the equation can be rearranged for r...


The speed of light is used instead of v so that you can determine how close anything can get to the black hole before escape is impossible.

Finding the Mass of a Black Hole

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I used this website to find out more about what black holes actually are. I trusted this source as it came from NASA, a very reliable and well known organisation.


This website was used to help me explain what would happen if a black hole was left starved of matter. It also helped me to gain knowledge of what is believed to happen to matter as it falls into a black hole. It seemed like a trustworthy source as lots of information was given, as well as a lot of detail.


To help me explain how the equation for the radius of the event horizon was derived, the above website was extremely helpful as it gave a full breakdown as to where each part of the equation came from and how this was so. The site has links to the U.S Department of Energy, so again is a fairly dependable source.

A2 Advancing Physics Book – Institute of Physics

This book was given to me by my Sixth Form and was a great source of background reading, as well as the main basis for my ‘Mass of a Black Hole’ section. It was written by the Institute of Physics (IOP) so yet again is a very secure resource.

...read more.

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Response to the question

The candidate gives a very in depth account and their report is interesting and easy to follow. An example of this is in the first paragraph, where the candidate uses a real life situation to explain the concept of a ...

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Response to the question

The candidate gives a very in depth account and their report is interesting and easy to follow. An example of this is in the first paragraph, where the candidate uses a real life situation to explain the concept of a black hole, this engages the reader and helps explain the topic to someone with a lesser understanding of physics. When you introduce a scientific concept it is a very good idea to make it as simple as possible and define key terms and ideas before discussing the main points. As well as demonstrating your understanding this makes your work accessible to a wider audience.

Level of analysis

The candidate has provided a table of contents which is often a good idea when you have many different topics to cover. This makes it clear to the reader which topics you plan to discuss. Furthermore the candidate has clearly taken the time to undergo independent research as they discuss complex theories relating to black holes. Sensibly they have also provided a list of resources they have used. It is always a good idea to state any sources you use when researching a topic. Finally the candidates conclusion could be improved. Though they give an evaluation and include a personal response, it is a little too brief. A good conclusion should summarise the key points you have discussed and state why these are important as this helps to draw the essay to a close.

Quality of writing

The quality of writing in this report is of a high standard, the candidate uses a good range of vocabulary, they use appropriate scientific terms and clearly show a very good understanding of physics. In addition this there are no issues with punctuation or grammar and only one or two spelling/typing errors.

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