This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Findings Could Put a New Spin on Black Holes

original link

The way that light gets distorted by the warped space-time around black holes soon could help scientists directly detect whether those monsters spin, researchers said.

These findings could shed light on the physics of black holes in more detail than earlier deemed possible.

Gravity is a force that leads bodies like planets and stars to pull not just on matter and light, but on space and time itself. If a massive body is rotating, it swirls the fabric of space-time around it, an effect known as frame-dragging that is even detectable around Earth. Although scientists have conjectured that the black holes such as the one suggested to exist at the center of our galaxy are spinning, no one has any direct evidence yet that they do so.

Black hole spinners

Although black holes absorb light that falls into them, light can escape from nearby black holes, such as rays given off by superhot matter just before it gets sucked into oblivion. According to Einstein's theory of general relativity, packets of light, or photons, can get twisted by the rotating space-time around spinning black holes, much as one might still feel a bit of a pull after stepping off a merry-go-round.

Computer simulations of spinning black holes now reveal just how they might distort photons. Future research to look for such twisted photons could thus uncover how fast black holes are spinning.

continue reading

TAGGED: SCIENCE, SPACE


RELATED CONTENT

Nasa's Curiosity rover zaps Mars rock

Jonathan Amos - BBC News Comments

Pew pew pew pew

Sun Is Roundest Natural Object Known

Dave Mosher - National Geographic Comments

The sun is the roundest natural object ever precisely measured, astronomers say.

Astrophysicists simulate 14 billion...

Liat Clark - Wired.co.uk Comments

Astrophysicists simulate 14 billion years of cosmic evolution in high resolution

Mars rover searching for signs of life

Lawrence Krauss - CNN Comments

Author and theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss, discusses what it would be like if we found life on another planet.

'Plate Tectonics' Discovered on...

- - The Daily Galaxy Comments

Mars Science Laboratory Touches Down...

Sean Carroll - Cosmic Variance -... Comments

Launched on November 26, 2011, the mission is scheduled to land on Mars’s Gale Crater tonight/tomorrow morning: 5:31 UTC, which translates to 1:30 a.m. Eastern time or 10:20 p.m. Pacific.

MORE

MORE BY CHARLES Q. CHOI

Peace of Mind: Near-Death Experiences...

Charles Q. Choi - Scientific American 308 Comments

Humans Had Sex Regularly With...

Charles Q. Choi - LiveScience.com 35 Comments

Doodling May Draw Students into Science

Charles Q. Choi - LiveScience 19 Comments

Coal-Black Alien Planet Is Darkest Ever...

Charles Q. Choi - Space.com 33 Comments

Building Blocks of DNA Found in...

Charles Q. Choi - LiveScience 38 Comments

MORE

Comments

Comment RSS Feed

Please sign in or register to comment