Einstein’s Gravity: Black Holes, Dark Matter and Gravitational Lensing
The General Theory of Relativity describes how mass distorts how we observe space and time. Two spectacular examples of this are provided through gravitational lensing and the predictions of black holes.
Gravitational lenses provide our strongest evidence for Dark Matter in the Universe. The gravity waves announced in 2016 came from a violent merger between two black holes around one billion years ago. The signal provides compelling evidence for the existence of black holes with masses of 10s to 100s of times the mass of the sun. Even larger, Super-Massive Black-Holes, with masses as high as 10 billion times the Sun seem to be ubiquitous in the centres of galaxies and to have played a key role in shaping our Universe.
Professor Stuart Wyithe presents some of the puzzling relationships between gravity, black holes, galaxy formation and the spectacular warping of images from distant objects.