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Supermassive black holes: new data

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How did supermassive black holes get so big?, asked Pete Spotts on Feb 28, 2013, in an article published by the Christian Science Monitor. His answer:

New data give a clue. Scientists have now measured the spin of a supermassive black hole, describing the rate in terms of the energy needed to sustain the spin. These black holes are thought to occupy the center of virtually every galaxy.


An artist’s illustration shows a supermassive black hole with millions to billions times the mass of our sun at the center, surrounded by matter flowing onto the black hole in what is termed an accretion disk in this NASA illustration released on Wednesday. Courtesy of JPL-Caltech/NASA/Reuters Published by The Christian Scien Monitor


Supermassive black holes are thought to occupy the center of virtually every galaxy in the universe. They tip the cosmic scales at millions or billions of times the sun’s mass.

The supermassive black hole in question spins furiously at the center of the Great Barred Spiral Galaxy, formally known as NGC 1365. It lies some 56 million light-years away in the constellation Fornax. The black hole at its center has 2 million times the mass of the sun… (continue reading)

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