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Lecture Description

Professor Bailyn begins with a summary of the four post-Newtonian effects of general relativity that were introduced and explained last time: precession of the perihelion, the deflection of light, the gravitational redshift, and gravitational waves. The concept of gravitational lensing is discussed as predicted by Einstein's general relativity theory. The formation of a gravitational lens can be observed when light from a bright distant source bends around a massive object between the source (such as a quasar) and the observer. Professor Bailyn then offers a slideshow of gravitational lenses. The issue of finding suitable astronomical objects that lend the opportunity to observe post Newtonian relativistic effects is addressed. The lecture ends with Jocelyn Bell and the discovery of pulsars.

Course Description

This course focuses on three particularly interesting areas of astronomy that are advancing very rapidly: Extra-Solar Planets, Black Holes, and Dark Energy. Particular attention is paid to current projects that promise to improve our understanding significantly over the next few years. The course explores not just what is known, but what is currently not known, and how astronomers are going about trying to find out.

from course: Introduction to Astrophysics


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