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Space & Astronomy

Astronomers calculate mind-boggling spin speed of a huge black hole

By T.K. Randall
May 23, 2024 · Comment icon 0 comments
Black holes can spin incredibly quickly. Image Credit: NOIRLab/NSF/AURA/J. da Silva
As if supermassive black holes weren't scary enough already, their rotational speed is absolutely mind-blowing.
Situated at the center of most galaxies (including our own), supermassive black holes can be almost unfathomably large - ranging in mass from hundreds of thousands to billions of times that of the Sun.

The precise role played by these galactic behemoths in the formation of galaxies is not well understood and exactly how such huge black holes come to form at all also remains unclear.

Another aspect of supermassive block holes in their rotational speed.

While they all rotate, some do so faster than others.

"The spin of a black hole is tied to its evolution," MIT astronomer Dheeraj Pasham told Gizmodo.
"For example, a black hole that grew by steady accretion of gas over billions of years tends to be high spinning while a black hole that grew by mergers with other black holes should be slow spinning."

Now, following observations of a supermassive black hole 1 billion light-years from Earth using NASA's NICER telescope, astronomers have been able to determine its rotational speed after encountering a star that was unfortunate enough to wander into its path.

Incredibly, the speed they came up with was an insane 167,654,156 miles per hour - which is one quarter of the speed of light.

It's a rotational speed that is barely even possible to imagine, but according to scientists, it is at least feasible for a black hole to spin at up to 94% of the speed of light.

Suffice to say, nothing would ever be likely to survive a close encounter with such an object.

Source: Gizmodo | Comments (0)

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