Date of Submission
Academic Programs and Concentrations
Project Advisor 1
Black holes are recently at the cutting edge of cosmological and astrophysical research. Both experiment and theory are leading to surprising conclusions on the physical properties of black holes and their affects on space and time. In this project, I set out to explore the origin and mechanics of a black hole's spin, that is, its internal angular momentum. What causes a black hole to spin in the first place is rich and nuanced. In order to make this project accessible and focused I explore the process of a minor merger, a collision between two black holes, one large and one comparatively small. Working from the ground up, I provide the necessary background information on General Relativity, and guide the reader to explore the subject from scratch. I determine how the spin is altered by a minor merger, making a few necessary approximations along the way. This project provides a foundation for further exploration into the subject of black hole spin. There are many other causes and ways in which spin can be altered that are not touched upon here. Future work could examine larger black hole mergers, accretion disk accumulation, and initial conditions of a collapsing star. This project gives a theoretical model of black hole motion. As black holes are now being observed and pictured, the calculations I do and others can be tested, validated, and observed. Future predictions and experiments on black hole spin is an exciting prospect for the future.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Selesnick, Mac B., "What Causes Black Holes to Spin?" (2019). Senior Projects Spring 2019. 217.
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