What is a black hole? Do they really exist? How do they form? How are they related
to stars? What would happen if you fell into one? How do you see a black hole if they
emit no light? What’s the difference between a black hole and a really dark star?
Could a particle accelerator create a black hole? Can a black hole also be a worm
hole or a time machine?
In Astro 101: Black Holes, you will explore the concepts behind black holes. Using the theme of black holes, you will learn the basic ideas of astronomy, relativity, and quantum physics.
After completing this course, you will be able to:
• Describe the essential properties of black holes.
• Explain recent black hole research using plain language and appropriate analogies.
• Compare black holes in popular culture to modern physics to distinguish science fact from science fiction.
• Describe the application of fundamental physical concepts including gravity, special and general relativity, and quantum mechanics to reported scientific observations.
• Recognize different types of stars and distinguish which stars can potentially become black holes.
• Differentiate types of black holes and classify each type as observed or theoretical.
• Characterize formation theories associated with each type of black hole.
• Identify different ways of detecting black holes, and appropriate technologies associated with each detection method.
• Summarize the puzzles facing black hole researchers in modern science.

From the lesson

Approaching a Black Hole

What would you see as you approached a black hole, using a black hole binary as a vehicle to explore black holes? In this module students will follow material as it is transferred from a companion star to a black hole via Roche lobe overflow or wind fed accretion. They will then follow that material down through the accretion disc to explore tidal forces to learn about the ways in which black holes can rip apart surrounding material. This material will then pass through the innermost stable orbit of the disc, before falling in. Students will also get the opportunity to look at jets - the outflow of material from the innermost regions of this structure.
Module Objective: Introduce properties of black holes from the outside in, through the context of a journey into the event horizon of a black hole. What would we see as we are far away? What will we see and experience as we get closer? What is a disc? What is a jet?