Spinning Black Hole Observed for the First Time

With the help of NASA's brand new NuSTAR observatory, astronomers have measured the spin of a supermassive black hole by detecting the relativistic effects that warp space-time at the edge of its event horizon.

Published On 02/27/2013
1:10 PM EST
This chart illustrates the basic model for determining the spin rates of black holes. The three artist's concepts represent the different types of spin: retrograde rotation, where the disk of matter falling onto the hole, called an accretion disk, moves in the opposite direction of the black hole; no spin; and prograde rotation, where the disk spins in the same direction as the black hole. | NASA/JPL-Caltech
This chart depicts the electromagnetic spectrum, highlighting the X-ray portion. NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) and the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton telescope complement each other by seeing different colors of X-ray light. | NASA/JPL-Caltech