We all know that black holes gobble matter up like nothing else in the universe. But science has revealed an unbelievable arsenal of tricks in the black holes’ playbook.
From nearly achieving impossible-sounding speeds to self-harming and even a bit of banditry, these celestial objects are a lot more versatile than we give them credit for.
1 Spin Really, Really Fast
For the first time, scientists accurately measured a supermassive black hole’s spin. And it’s a doozy: 84 percent of the speed of light.
NGC 1365’s central black hole, 60 million light-years away, is mind-numbingly fast as well as enormous. It’s 3.2 million kilometers (2 million mi) across and boasts several million solar masses.
As it spins, it drags space-time along with it, creating a scorching maelstrom of X-ray-spewing gas and dust that spirals down its drain. The matter likely fell from a single direction, giving it the constant unidirectional push required to attain such speeds.