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Sample essay topic, essay writing: Black Holes - 1570 words
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Black HolesA black hole is the velocity necessary to take one away from one's own gravitational force. For example, the escape velocity of earth is equal to 11 km/s. anything that wants to escape earth's gravitational force or pull must go at least 11 km/s, no matter what the thing is . The escape velocity of an object depends on how compact it is; that is, the ratio of its mass to radius. A black hole is an object so compact that, close to it, even the speed of light is not fast enough to escape.A common type of black hole is the type produced by some dying stars.
A star with a mass greater than 20 times the mass of our Sun may produce a black hole at the end of its life. In the normal life of a star there is a constant tug of war between gravity pulling in and pressure pushing out. Nuclear reactions in the core of the star produce enough energy to push out. For most of a star's life, gravity and pressure balance each other exactly, and so the star is stable. However, when a star runs out of nuclear fuel, gravity gets the upper hand and the material in the core is compressed even further. The more massive the core of the star, the greater the force of gravity that compresses the material, collapsing it under its own weight. For small stars, when the nuclear fuel is exhausted and there are no more nuclear reactions to fight gravity, the repulsive forces among electrons within the star eventually create enough pressure to halt further gravitational collapse
The star then cools and dies peacefully. This type of star is called the 'white dwarf.' When a very massive star exhausts its nuclear fuel it explodes as a supernova. The outer parts of the star are sent into space and the core falls under its own weight. To create a massive core a progenitor (ancestral) star would need to be at least 20 times more massive than our Sun. If the core is very massive (approximately 2.5 times more massive than the Sun), no known repulsive force inside a star can push back hard enough to prevent gravity from completely collapsing the core into a black hole.
Then the core compacts into a mathematical point with zero volume, where it is has infinite density. This is referred to as a singularity. When this happens, escape would require a velocity greater than the speed of light. No object can reach the speed of light. The distance from the black hole at which the escape velocity is just equal to the speed of light is called the event horizon. Anything, including light, that passes across the event horizon toward the black hole is forever trapped.Newton thought that only objects with mass could produce a gravitational force on each other.
Applying Newton's theory of gravity, means that since light has no mass, the force of gravity couldn't affect it. Einstein discovered that the situation is a bit more complicated than that. First he discovered that gravity is produced by a curved space-time. Then Einstein theorized that the mass and radius of an object (its compactness) actually curves space-time. Mass is linked to space in a way that physicists today still do not completely understand.
However, we know that the stronger the gravitational field of an object, the more the space around the object is curved. In other words, straight lines are no longer straight if exposed to a strong gravitational field; instead, they are curved. Since light ordinarily travels on a straight-line path, light follows a curved path if it passes through a strong gravitational field. This is what is meant by 'curved space,' and this is why light becomes trapped in a black hole. In the 1920's Sir Arthur Eddington proved Einstein's theory when he observed starlight curve when it traveled close to the Sun. This was the first successful prediction of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity.
One way to picture this effect of gravity is to imagine a piece of rubber sheet stretched out. Imagine that you put a heavy ball in the center of the sheet. The weight of the ball will bend the surface of the sheet close to it. This is a two-dimensional picture of what gravity does to space in three dimensions. Now take a little marble and send it rolling from one side of the rubber sheet to the other. Instead of the marble taking a straight path to the other side of the sheet, it will follow the contour of the sheet that is curved by the weight of the ball in the center.
This is similar to how the gravitation field created by an object (the ball) affects light (the marble).A black hole is invisible because no light can escape from it. In fact, when black holes were first hypothesized they were called 'invisible stars.' If black holes are invisible, how do we know they exist? This is exactly why it is so difficult to find a black hole in space! However, a black hole can be found indirectly by observing its effect on the stars and gas close to it. For example, consider a double-star system in which the stars are very close. If one of the stars explodes as a supernova and creates a black hole, gas and dust from the companion star might be pulled toward the black hole if the companion wanders too close. In that case, the gas and dust are pulled toward the black hole and begin to orbit around the event horizon and then orbit the black hole.
The gas becomes compressed and the friction that develops among the atoms converts the kinetic energy of the gas and dust into heat. X-rays are created. Using the radiation coming from the orbiting material, scientists can measure its heat and speed. From the motion and heat of the circulating matter, we can tell the presence of a black hole. The hot matter near the event horizon of a black hole is called an accretion disk.
John Wheeler, a famous theorist, compared these double-star systems to watching women in white dresses dancing with men in black tuxedos in a poorly lit room. You see only the women, but you could tell the men were there because of all the moves the women did. Looking for stars with invisible partners is one way in which astronomers search for possible black holes.The gravity of a black hole is not special. It does not attract matter at large distances differently than any other object does. At a long distance from the black hole the force of gravity falls off as the inverse square of the distance, just as it does for normal objects. Mathematically, the gravity of any spherical object is as if all the mass were concentrated at one central point. Since most things have surfaces, you feel the strongest gravity of an object when you are on its surface. This is as close to its total mass as you can get.
If you penetrated a spherical object with a constant mass density, getting closer to its core, you would feel the force of gravity get weaker, not stronger. The force of gravity you feel depends on the mass that is interior to you, because the gravity from the mass behind you is exactly canceled by the mass in the opposite direction. Therefore, you will feel the strongest force of gravity from an object, for example a planet, when you are standing on the planet's surface, because it is on the surface that you are closest to its total mass. Penetrating the surface of the planet does not expose you to more of the planet's total mass, but actually exposes you to less. Now remember the size of a black hole is quite small. Gravity near a black hole is very strong because objects can get extremely close to it and still be exposed to its total mass. There is nothing special about the mass of a black hole.
A black hole is different from our ordinary experience not because of its mass, but because its radius is gone. Far away from the black hole, you would feel the same strength of gravity as if the black hole were a normal star. But the force of gravity close to a black hole is strong because you can get so close to the black hole's total mass! For example, where we are standing, on the surface of the Earth, it is 6378 km from the center of the Earth. The surface is as close as you can get to the total mass of the Earth. Therefore, it is where you will feel the strongest gravity. If the Earth was to become a black hole (which is impossible) and you stayed at 6378 km from the new Earth-black hole, you would feel the same pull of gravity as you do now.
For example, if you're normal weight is 110 lbs, you would still weigh 110 lbs. Since the mass of the Earth hasn't changed, and your distance from it hasn't changed, you would feel the same gravitational force that you would on the surface of normal Earth. But if the Earth was a black hole, it would be possible for you to get closer to the total mass of the Earth. ...
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