Astrophysics


Black Holes and their Spin


Posted By on May 29, 2007

There are two basic characteristics that describe black holes: Mass and Spin. Mass determines the size of the event horizon, the gravitational mass, and many of the ways the black hole can gravitationally shred people, planets and just about anything else. Spin is related to the magnetic field (which can also shred people because of the magnetic properties of water), and it exerts many relativistic effects on its surrounding, such as...

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Opening my press release email folder this morning, I found what could have been the beginning of a good joke if I were actually a skilled humorist. So a black hole and a brown dwarf both start to form. As the black hole consumes his parent star, he shots powerful gamma ray jets off to announce his arrival. At the same time, a little brown dwarf, with a not so little planet, works to spring out of its proto-stellar cloud, and it blows...

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One of the common questions I get is (averaged across many versions) “Why don’t all stars become black holes – don’t they all have gravity? And why don’t they start as Black Holes – didn’t they start with all that mass that made them become black holes? Balancing stars against gravitational collapse is actually a process that is much more simple than many people think. When a star forms, the...

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