Can I see a black hole at all? If I can see it, what does a black hole
look like? Does it look black? What does it feel like to fall toward
a black hole? 8.224 Exploring Black Holes investigates these and many
other questions using elementary calculus. The website includes assignments,
exams, lecture notes, videos, and a description of the end-of-term collaborative
Study of physical effects in the vicinity of a black hole as a basis
for understanding general relativity, astrophysics, and elements of
cosmology. Extension to current developments in theory and observation.
Energy and momentum in flat spacetime; the metric; curvature of spacetime
near rotating and nonrotating centers of attraction; trajectories and
orbits of particles and light; elementary models of the Cosmos. Weekly
meetings include an evening seminar and recitation. The last third
of the semester is reserved for collaborative research projects on
topics such as the Global Positioning System, solar system tests of
relativity, descending into a black hole, gravitational lensing, gravitational
waves, Gravity Probe B, and more advanced models of the Cosmos.