“Each black hole can only be defined by two numbers: its spin and its mass.” This was explained by Julia Sisk-Reynes of the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge, who conducted a new study on a supermassive that is about 3.6 billion light years from us.
While measuring its mass is complicated but feasible, recording its rotation is a really tough challenge. To do this, the team of scientists used data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory.
“We found that the black hole in H1821 + 643 rotates about half the speed of most black holes weighing between about one million and ten million suns,” said astronomer Christopher Reynolds, co-author of the paper reporting the results of Chandra’s measurements. “The million dollar question is: why?”
One possible explanation is that supermassive black holes like this one (it contains 30 billion times the mass of the Sun) grew through mergers with other black holes during collisions of their galaxies. It is also possible that this black hole had its outer disk interrupted by a collision, which sent gas in random directions during the event.
This type of activity would affect the rotation speed of the black hole, slowing it down or even spinning it in an entirely new direction.
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