Wednesday, January 11, 2006

"Spinning black hole leaves dent in space-time"

SpaceRef - Your Space Reference:

"MIT scientists and colleagues have found a black hole that has chiseled a remarkably stable indentation in the fabric of space and time, like a dimple in one's favorite spot on the sofa.
The finding may help scientists measure a black hole's mass and how it spins, two long-sought measurements, by virtue of the extent of this indentation. Using NASA's Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer, the team saw identical patterns in the X-ray light emitted near the black hole nine years apart, as captured in archived data from 1996 and in a new, unprecedented 550-hour observation from 2005.
Black hole regions are notoriously chaotic, generating light at a range of frequencies. Similarities seen nine years apart imply something very fundamental is producing a pair of observed frequencies, namely the warping of space and time predicted by Einstein but rarely seen in such detail. "