NASA / CXC / M.WEISS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / CXC / M.WEISS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Non-spinning black hole, illustration. The gravity of a black hole shifts X-rays from iron atoms to lower energies, producing a strongly skewed X-ray signal. Here, a black hole is depicted as not spinning, while a second black hole is depicted as spinning rapidly (see C038/9799). One consequence of Einstein's theory of relativity is that spinning black holes drag space with them as they spin, making it possible for particles to orbit nearer to the black hole. A possible explanation for the differences in spin among stellar black holes is that they are born spinning at different rates. Another is that the gas flowing into the black hole spins it up. Black hole spin was observed by the Chandra and XMM-Newton telescopes. The black holes studied were Cygnus X-1 (non-spinning) and XTE J1650-500 (spinning). Image published in 2003.
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