Cosmic lens exposes spin of supermassive black hole

By Ashley Yeager, 13:00 PM March 5, 2014

A chance alignment of a bright, distant galaxy behind a much closer one has given astronomers a rare opportunity to determine the spin of a supermassive black hole 6 billion light-years from Earth.

The alignment of the galaxies, a phenomenon called a gravitational lens, magnified and split the light coming from matter falling into the more distant galaxy's supermassive black hole. From the four split images, astronomers were able to calculate that the supermassive black hole spins at nearly ha...

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