Link to the demonstrator: in English
Duration: 3 hours
Equipment: PC with internet connection
Author: Dr. Rosa Doran (NUCLIO)
This demonstrator introduces the concept of black holes and how difficult it is to find them. Students are introduced to a method of detecting black holes in eclipsing binary systems – systems formed by a visible star and an eclipsing companion. Real images will be used to look for changes in the starlight that might result due to the presence of a companion. Students will learn how to use a specific image software to perform photometry on the images and will create a graph of brightness variation. The analysis of the light curve will allow students to estimate the orbital period of the companion and, given a relation between several parameters of the known star and the companion’s mass, they will estimate the minimum mass of the unknown companion and decide if it is a strong candidate to be a black hole. Students can present their work to the class and discuss how they compare with the most accurate results that astronomers have.
- Teach students about black holes and how to detect them.
- Allow students to understand the science and methodology behind the detection of black holes.
- Introduce basic concepts of Astronomy and Image Processing
- Basic Astronomy knowledge of stars and their lives
- Excel (charts)
- Kinematic’s concepts such as: radial velocity, orbital period, Keppler’s Law
- Black holes
- Graph analysis
By the end of this descriptor, students should be able to:
- Define a black hole
- Explain an eclipsing binary system
- Describe a method to collect luminosity data
- Examine images using the salsa J software
- Form conclusions about a binary system from a light graph
- Videos to engage – possible edpuzzle
- Explaining the light curve
- Practical formation of a light curve
- Salsa J – examination of 3 stars
- Analysis and explanation – activity handout possibly
- Final report
By the end of this descriptor, students should be able to answer the following:
- Write a couple of sentences describing what you learned about black holes (why they are black, the different types of black holes, how black holes are formed).
- It is difficult to observe black holes. Why? Can you look for any kind of black hole candidate using the light curve?
- Why do you need to measure the period of the light curve when you are studying binary eclipsing systems?
- How do you determine if the compact object is a stellar black hole candidate or not?