The rotation speed of black holes revealed in new research into swirling space-time

An artist

The ‘wobbly’ remains of a star that died a gruesome death in the maw of a supermassive black hole have helped reveal the speed at which its cosmic predator spins.

Supermassive black holes are believed to form from successive mergers of smaller black holes, each of which brings with it an angular momentum that accelerates the rotation of the black hole they produce. Consequently, measuring the spin of supermassive black holes can provide insight into their history – and new research offers a new way to draw such conclusions based on the effect that spinning black holes have on the fabric of space and time.

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