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Massive Black Hole’s Spin Supports Einstein’s Theory of Relativity

The very first black hole that humanity has imaged is located at the center of the radio galaxy Messier 87 (M87), and has recently been proven to spin, with an approximate 11-year cycle of precession.

The discovery was made by a team of scientists, led by Yuzhu Cui of the Zhejiang Laboratory, Hangzhou, China, who published their results in Nature, on Sept. 27, 2023.

The study was conducted over 22 years, and focused on two powerful jets of material, using a global array of radio telescopes from 2000 to 2022, with the jets tilting up and down over an 11-year cycle, demonstrating that the black hole was wobbling on its axis as it rotated.

M87 lies about 55 million light-years from Earth, and the black hole is estimated to be 6.5 billion times the mass of the Sun; it’s about 24 billion miles across. Although its gravitational field is so great as to prevent the escape of light, black holes can be “seen” by the accretion disks which surround them—"vast plumes of material stripped from gas clouds and stars, heated to red-hot temperatures by friction as it spirals into the black holes’ mouths,” as Live Science explains, reporting on the Nature article.

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