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Astronomy 2e

Figuring for Yourself

Astronomy 2eFiguring for Yourself

Figuring for Yourself


Look up G, c, and the mass of the Sun in Appendix E and calculate the radius of a black hole that has the same mass as the Sun. (Note that this is only a theoretical calculation. The Sun does not have enough mass to become a black hole.)


Suppose you wanted to know the size of black holes with masses that are larger or smaller than the Sun. You could go through all the steps in Exercise 24.20, wrestling with a lot of large numbers with large exponents. You could be clever, however, and evaluate all the constants in the equation once and then simply vary the mass. You could even express the mass in terms of the Sun’s mass and make future calculations really easy. Show that the event horizon equation is equivalent to saying that the radius of the event horizon is equal to 3 km times the mass of the black hole in units of the Sun’s mass.


Use the result from Exercise 24.21 to calculate the radius of a black hole with a mass equal to: the Earth, a B0-type main-sequence star, a globular cluster, and the Milky Way Galaxy. Look elsewhere in this text and the appendixes for tables that provide data on the mass of these four objects.


Since the force of gravity a significant distance away from the event horizon of a black hole is the same as that of an ordinary object of the same mass, Kepler’s third law is valid. Suppose that Earth collapsed to the size of a golf ball. What would be the period of revolution of the Moon, orbiting at its current distance of 400,000 km? Use Kepler’s third law to calculate the period of revolution of a spacecraft orbiting at a distance of 6000 km.

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