Astronomers Discover A Black Hole Spinning at Half the Speed of Light

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Black holes are so perplexing that even Stephan Hawking has recently retracted his original explanation as to how they function.  To make things even more challenging, they are very difficult to observe, being they are virtually undetectable. However, scientist have found a black hole that is in just the right place so that they can measure how fast it spins.

A supermassive black hole has lined up with an elliptical galaxy, creating a gravitational lens, meaning from earth the light reaching us from the elliptical galaxy is being bent by the black hole. The gravitational lens proves that there is a black hole present in that particular region of space. Below is an image of the black hole provided from NASA.

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For astronomers to calculate the speed at which the black hole is spinning, they measure the radius of the disk of material being sucked into the black hole. Then, after further calculations, astronomers can determine the speed at which the black hole spins.

This black hole happens to be spinning at half the speed of light!

To think that nearly fifty years ago black holes were thought to not exist just proves how quickly humans are advancing in astronomical exploration.

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– Julia

 

 

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