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Ep. 37, Page 39
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Comic 2898 - Ep. 37, Page 39

9th Jul 2019, 9:00 PM in Episode 37 :: Save My Place | Load My Place
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Author Notes:

smbhax 9th Jul 2019, 9:00 PM edit delete
smbhax
NASA just linked a poetically titled Chandra article, X-rays Spot Spinning Black Holes Across Cosmic Sea, talking about conclusions researchers have been able to reach by studying active, distant supermassive black holes, whose X-ray emissions they've been able to see—multiplied several times, kaleidoscope-like—thanks to gravitational lensing.

"The researchers then used the property that a spinning black hole is dragging space around with it and allows matter to orbit closer to the black hole than is possible for a non-spinning black hole. Therefore, a smaller emitting region corresponding to a tight orbit generally implies a more rapidly spinning black hole."

The X-rays from one of the black holes they observed had such a small cross section that the researchers calculated that the hole's event horizon is spinning at or very near the maximum speed: the speed of light.

"The researchers think that these supermassive black holes likely grew by accumulating most of their material over billions of years from an accretion disk spinning with a similar orientation and direction of spin, rather than from random directions. Like a merry-go-round that keeps getting pushed in the same direction, the black holes kept picking up speed."