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Quote of the day

'By far the greatest danger of Artificial Intelligence is that people conclude too early that they understand it'

 

Eliezer Yudkowsky

Black hole spin could further understanding of galaxy growth

RATE THIS! +23
Posted in Science on 2nd Aug, 2013 10:39 AM by AlexMuller

Durham University Astronomers have found a new way of measuring the spin in supermassive black holes, which could lead to better understanding about how they drive the growth of galaxies.

 

The astronomers observed a black hole — with a mass 10 million times that of our Sun — at the center of a spiral galaxy 500 million light years from Earth while it was feeding on the surrounding disc of material that fuels its growth and powers its activity.

 

By viewing optical, ultraviolet and soft x-rays generated by heat as the black hole fed, they were able to measure how far the disc was from the black hole.

 

This distance depends on black hole spin, as a fast-spinning black hole pulls the disc in closer to itself, the researchers said. Using the distance between the black hole and the disc, the scientists were able to estimate the spin of the black hole.

 

The scientists said that understanding spin could lead to greater understanding of galaxy growth over billions of years.

 

Black holes lie at the centers of almost all galaxies, and can spit out incredibly hot particles at high energies that prevent intergalactic gases from cooling and forming new stars in the outer galaxy. Scientists don’t yet understand why the jets are ejected into space, but the Durham experts believe that their power could be linked to the spin of the black hole. This spin is difficult to measure, as it only affects the behavior of material really close to the black hole.

 

Lead researcher Professor Chris Done, in the Department of Physics, at Durham University, said: “We know the black hole in the center of each galaxy is linked to the galaxy as a whole, which is strange because black holes are tiny in relation to the size of a galaxy. This would be like something the size of a large boulder (10m), influencing something the size of the Earth.

 

“Understanding this connection between stars in a galaxy and the growth of a black hole, and vice-versa, is the key to understanding how galaxies form throughout cosmic time.

 

“If a black hole is spinning it drags space and time with it and that drags the accretion disc, containing the black hole’s food, closer towards it. This makes the black hole spin faster, a bit like an ice skater doing a pirouette.



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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-08-02
+3
The scientist are interesting is seeing what the connection is between the galaxy of the stars and the black holes. Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-08-02
+4
Congratulations to the Department of Physics, at Durham University, on their study of the black holes. There is so much mystery concerning the black holes and all the info up to this point is pure theory. Reply


 

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