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#16371 - 11/20/06 05:34 PM Black holes exhibit spin control
DA Morgan Offline
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Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
X-ray vision has brought astronomers closer than ever to completely characterizing a black hole, a place where strange things happen.

Astronomers measured the spinning speed of three black holes, finding that one rotates at a breakneck 950 times per second, nearing its theoretical rotation limit of 1,150 spins a second. The black hole lies within the constellation Aquila, about 35,000 light-years from Earth.

The finding represents an important step toward understanding these invisible objects.

When any mass, such as a star, becomes more compact than a certain limit, its own gravity becomes so strong that the object collapses to a singular point, a black hole. The spin of a star is thought to translate into spin of a black hole that forms from the star's collapse. With its mass much more compact, the spin rate ought to be phenomenal, much like a skater pulls in his arms to increase speed when performing a pirouette.

For the full news story:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15816500/
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#16372 - 11/20/06 06:11 PM Re: Black holes exhibit spin control
dr_rocket Offline
Member

Registered: 12/06/06
Posts: 196
Loc: Palo Alto, CA, USA
Good Morning DA,

This is interesting. The investigators, McClintock and Narayan, that this article refers to used information gathered by RXTE. (That's the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer satellite.) This project has come up with a number of interesting result. Some of them are listed here:

http://heasarc.nasa.gov/docs/xte/whatsnew/xte_notices_2006.html

One thing I find very interesting is the number of PhD's this satellite is generating!

Dr. R.

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#16373 - 11/20/06 08:04 PM Re: Black holes exhibit spin control
DA Morgan Offline
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Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
Any good piece of equipment should be a PhD factory too.
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