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Black Holes: An Introductory Resource List

 

2. A Few Introductory Readings on the General Theory of Relativity

Wheeler, John A Journey Into Gravity and Spacetime. 1990, Scientific American Library. A brilliant, demanding introduction by one of the foremost scientists of our time (the man who helped coin the word "black hole".)

Will, C. Was Einstein Right? -- Putting General Relativity to the Test. 1986, Basic Books. Introduction to the experiments that confirm the theory.

Zee, A. An Old Man's Toy: Gravity in Einstein's Universe. 1989, Macmillan. Good, non-technical primer by a physicist.

Gefter, A. "Putting Einstein to the Test" in Sky & Telescope, July 2005, p. 32. Nice review of experimental tests of general relativity.

Trefil, J. "Relativity’s Infinite Beauty" in Astronomy, Feb. 2005, p. 46. On current and future tests.

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3. Selected Nontechnical Articles on Stellar-mass Black Holes

Blaes, O. "A Universe of Disks" in Scientific American, Oct. 2004, p. 48. On accretion disks and jets around young stars and black holes.

Castelvecchi, D. "A New Breed of Black Hole" in Sky & Telescope, Apr. 2006, p. 36. On intermediate-sized black holes, formed by the merger of smaller ones.

Charles, P. & Wagner, R. "Black Holes in Binary Stars: Weighing the Evidence" in Sky & Telescope, May 1996, p. 38. Excellent review of how we find stellar-mass black holes.

Davies, P. "Wormholes and Time Machines" in Sky & Telescope, Jan. 1992, p. 20. On some of the speculative aspects of black hole theory.

Jayawardhana, Ray "Beyond Black" in Astronomy, June 2002, p. 28. On finding evidence of the existence of event horizons and thus black holes.

LoPresto, J. "The Geometry of Space and Time" in Astronomy, Oct. 1987, p. 6.

Nadis, S. "The Secret Lives of Black Holes" in Astronomy, Nov. 2007, p. 28. On experiments to measure the spin of black holes and the effects of that spin.

Nadis, S. "Black Holes: Seeing the Unseeable" in Astronomy, Apr. 2007, p. 26. A brief history of black hole idea and an introduction to potential new ways to observe them.

Nadis, S. "What Happens When Black Holes Collide" in Astronomy, May 2006, p. 34. Theoretical ideas on ways black hole mergers may lead to their ejection from a galaxy. (Far out)

Parker, B. "In and Around Black Holes" in Astronomy, Oct. 1986, p. 6.

Rees, M. "To the Edge of Space and Time" in Astronomy, July 1998, p. 48. Good quick overview.

Sheldon, E. "Opinautics: A Matter of Much Gravity" in Sky & Telescope, Aug. 1982, p. 118. A somewhat more technical article on what it is like around a black hole.

Wheeler, J. "Of Wormholes, Time Machines, and Paradoxes" in Astronomy, Feb. 1996, p. 52. On some of the "far-out" possible consequences of general relativity.

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4. Articles on the Super-massive Black Hole at the Center of the Milky Way Galaxy

Dvorak, J. "Journey to the Heart of the Milky Way" in Astronomy, Feb. 2008, p. 28. Measuring nearby stars to determine the properties of the black hole at the center.

Freedman, D. "The Mysterious Middle of the Milky Way" in Discover, Nov. 1998, p. 66. A journalist explains the evidence that our own galaxy harbors a massive black hole in the center.

Irion, Robert "Homing in on Black Holes" in Smithsonian Magazine, Apr. 2008. On how astronomers probe the large black hole at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy. Available on the web at: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/black-holes.html

Jayawardhana, R. "Destination: Galactic Center" in Sky & Telescope, June 1995, p. 26.

Schulkin, B. "Does a Monster Lurk Nearby?" in Astronomy, Sep. 1997, p. 42.

Tanner, A: "A Trip to the Galactic Center" in Sky & Telescope, Apr. 2003, p. 44. Nice introduction with observations pointing to the presence of a black hole. (see also: http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~ghezgroup/gc/journey/ )

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