Black holes seem like something out of science fiction, but they are real. Now that we understand the relevant properties of gravity we can separate fact from fiction. We start by defining black holes and showing how they differ fromthe simple Newtonian idea of “no escape.” Time and space seem to swap meaning inside the black hole, so that “forward in time” is a direction that points toward the center of the black hole. We then look at the astrophysical evidence that black holes really exists: how we can observe them, as well as the limits to our observations.We then examine facts andmyths about black holes, including tidal effects such as spaghettification. Finally, because black holes in nature spin rapidly, we look at gravitomagnetic effects around rapidly spinning black holes.
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