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A New Spin

X rays shed light on black holes

10:03am, December 31, 2006

For an object that wields such a powerful and complex influence, a black hole is amazingly simple. Although its gravity is strong enough to trap light and slow time until each second lasts an eternity, the basic astrophysical properties of a black hole can be described by just two properties: mass and spin rate.

Over the past 15 years, astronomers have made great pr

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