A new spin on supermassive black holes

Wed, 09/23/2020

New observational research suggests that supermassive black holes — the mysterious, light-swallowing objects at the heart of nearly all large galaxies — are spinning like crazy.

It’s a finding that has sweeping implications for how black holes form, how they grow, and how the shape of the universe as we know it came into being. The research appears in a new study accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal.

This isn’t the final word on black hole growth, but it’s a big step forward,” said the study’s first author, Tonima Ananna, a former Yale graduate student who is now a postdoctoral researcher at Dartmouth College. Her doctoral adviser was Meg Urry, Yale’s Israel Munson Professor of Physics and Astronomy and senior author of the study.

A black hole is a point in space where matter is compacted so tightly that it creates intense gravity. This gravity is strong enough that even light can’t escape its pull. A black hole can be as small as a single atom or as large as billions of miles in diameter.

Read more of Jim Shelton’s YaleNews article here:

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