The nature of spherical collapse and a study of black hole dynamics
Gravitational waves and singularities are two of the most significant predictions of General Relativity. Binary systems are the most promising sources of gravitational waves that are expected to be detected with the current ground-based and upcoming space-based gravitational wave detectors. During the merger of binary compact objects, an important stage is the plunge. A small part of the gravitational waveform, it marks the end of early inspiral and determines the quasinormal ringing (QNR) of the final product of the merger. It is also the part of the waveform where most of the gravitational energy is released. But, unlike early inspiral and late ringdown, it is poorly understood in terms of phenomenology. This thesis introduces a novel approach combining the Fourier domain Green's function in the particle perturbation approximation and a simple model to understand this crucial stage. The resulting understanding is successful in explaining QNR for a Schwarzschild black hole and opens a new approach to understanding binary inspiral. It holds the promise of a much improved understanding, and improved efficiency in making astrophysical estimates of gravitational wave source strength. Singularities are known to be the ultimate fate of all massive stars undergoing gravitational collapse. The cosmic censorship hypothesis predicts that all these singularities are generically covered by event horizons, i.e., all collapsing stars, if they result in a singularity, end up as black holes. Although several theoretical examples of non-hidden (naked) singularities have been found, the question of the genericity of naked singularities is far from settled. This thesis presents a study of the causal structure of spherically symmetric models of dust collapse and its perturbations to investigate the genericity of naked singularities.