Wobbling disk of orbiting debris shows yanking and twisting of spacetime
GENEVA — An effect of general relativity that is barely measurable on Earth has been spotted in full force around a black hole.
Physicists detected the signature of a black hole twisting the fabric of spacetime around it. The discovery offers the best evidence yet of this relativity-driven twisting effect, known as frame dragging, around a black hole where it is most powerful. The research was reported December 16 at the Texas Symposium on Relativistic Astrophysics.
Researchers captured the extreme frame dragging by analyzing X-rays emanating from a disk of star debris swirling around a black hole about 28,000 light-years away in the Milky Way. The data suggest that the disk’s matter is on a wild ride as the spacetime it occupies gets yanked and warped by the spinning black hole.