The Astrophysics of Black Hole Spin

 

 

Dr. Reynolds University of Maryland In addition to providing vital clues as to the formation and evolution of black holes, the spin of black holes may be an important energy source in the Universe. Over the past couple of years, tremendous progress has been made in the realm of observational measurements of spin. I will describe these efforts with particular focus on the use of X-ray spectroscopy to probe the spin of supermassive black holes in active galactic nuclei (AGN). For the first time, we are obtaining hints about the distribution of spins across the population of supermassive black holes with some interesting and unexpected consequences. After discussing spin, I will also address questions related to the driving of relativistic jets from AGN and the jet-disk connection. I shall conclude by discussing future prospects enabled by Astro-H (to be launched in 2015) and LOFT/ATHENA+ (currently under consideration by ESA).

 

 

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