Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Authors: Jennifer Chu, MIT News

Published Date: Wed, 22 May 2024 11:00:00 -0400

Summary: Astronomers at MIT, NASA, and other institutions have created a method to measure black hole spin by observing the wobbling of the accretion disk after a tidal disruption event (TDE). This method uses X-ray flashes from the disk as a black hole consumes a star, revealing the wobble due to the black hole’s spin. They applied this technique to a 2020 TDE, observing X-ray peaks every 15 days, indicating the disk’s wobble. Their analysis showed the black hole spinning at less than 25 percent the speed of light. This method could help measure the spins of many black holes, improving our understanding of their evolution.

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