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  • Black hole size revealed by its eating pattern

    An artist’s impression of an accretion disk rotating around an unseen supermassive black hole.

    An artist’s impression of an accretion disk rotating around an unseen supermassive black hole. The accretion process produces random fluctuations in luminosity from the disk over time, a pattern found to be related to the mass of the black hole in a new study led by University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign researchers.

    Graphic courtesy Mark A. Garlick/Simons Foundation

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  • Editor’s notes:

    To reach Yue Shen, email shenyue@illinois.edu.

    To reach Colin Burke, email colinjb2@illinois.edu.

    The paper “A characteristic optical variability timescale in astrophysical accretion disks” is available online and from the U. of I. News Bureau. DOI: 10.1126/science.abg9933.

    This press release is modified from the original prepared by Shen and Thomas Sumner of the Flatiron Institute.