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Spinning black hole releases energy
Posted: Wed, Oct 24, 2001, 7:25 PM ET (2325 GMT)
Black hole slowed by magnetic field (NASA/GSFC illus.) Astronomers have discovered for the first time a black hole that is releasing energy through a complex interaction with magnetic fields and gases, astronomers announced Monday. Observations of the black hole MCG-6-30-15 revealed that the region around it was emitting more x-ray energy than expected from conventional sources, such as the heating of matter as it falls toward the black hole. Instead, astronomers believe that the black hole's powerful gravity is warping spacetime around it to the degree that it twists magnetic field lines around the black hole, tightening the field and slowing the spin of the black hole. This releases energy that heats the material the in accretion disk near the black hole's event horizon, generating the excess x-rays observed by the XMM-Newton spacecraft. The observations appear to confirm a hypothesis regarding the braking of black holes by magnetic fields first proposed about 25 years ago.
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