Space scientists succeeded something that has never been done before: they captured images of spinning black holes. Rotating black holes are what the name implies: black holes that revolve around one of their axes of symmetry. It is well known that black holes are created when a star collapses. As all the stars spin, black holes also spin.
Chandra X-Ray Observatory helped scientists snap spinning black holes
Astronomers used the Chandra X-Ray Observatory to find and capture images of the rotating black holes. Chandra, one of the Great Observatories, is a space telescope that was launched in space in 1999.
In the past 20 years, the X-Ray telescope recorded X-ray sources a hundred times weaker than any other telescope. And as the telescopes that are on Earth are not able to detect X-rays from space, Chandra is perfect for the job.
Astronomers, with the help of Chandra X-Ray Observatory and gravitational lensing, successfully calculated the spin velocity of black holes. Gravitational lensing refers to the effect of light deflection that happens when between a light source and the observer is placed an object.
Spinning black holes found by scientist present different velocities
The researchers employed lensing tricks to obtain images of the five quasi-stellar objects that contain the supermassive black holes. Quasi-stellar objects, for short quasars, refer to active galactic nuclei that encompass a black hole, which is encircled by incandescent gas.
The quasars examined by the team were 10.9 billion light-years away. With the clear images obtained by the Chandra X-Ray Observatory and with the help of gravitational lensing, the group of scientists described spinning black holes.
They realized that if the area that emits the X-rays is small, it can only mean that the spin of the black hole is considerably fast. One of the spinning black holes, part of the Einstein Cross quasar, has a velocity of 70% the speed of light. This is one of the fastest rotating black holes, while the others are slower, with a velocity of around half than the first one.
Bo has over six years experience as a teacher, advocate and speaker. He has a B.S. from Cornell University, and a Ph.D. in Human rights from Harvard University Graduate School.