By utilizing NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory telescope, a team of physicists meticulously calculated the rotational velocity of the colossal black hole, Sagittarius A*. These findings were unveiled in the most recent issue of the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
Their analysis revealed that Sagittarius A*, situated approximately 26,000 light-years away from our planet, is rotating at an astonishing speed.
This rapid rotation exerts a tremendous force, effectively pulling and distorting the surrounding fabric of space-time, akin to compressing it like the squishing of a football, as reported by CNN.
“With this spin, Sagittarius A* will be dramatically altering the shape of space-time in its vicinity,” Ruth Daly, the lead author on the study, told CNN.
“We’re used to thinking and living in a world where all the spatial dimensions are equivalent — the distance to the ceiling and the distance to the wall and the distance to the floor … they all sort of are linear, it’s not like one is totally squished up compared to the others.”
“But if you have a rapidly rotating black hole, the space-time around it is not symmetric,” Daly said, according to CNN. “The spinning black hole is dragging all of the space-time around with it … it squishes down the space-time, and it sort of looks like a football.”
That may sound alarming, but don’t worry; the black hole is way too far away to affect us here on Earth.
But, Daly said, understanding how black holes function can help scientists learn more about the formation and evolution of galaxies like our own.