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W. Chen (UMD \& NASA/GSFC), W. Cui (MIT), S.N. Zhang (UAH \& NASA/MSFC)
We show that the accretion process in X-ray binaries is not likely to spin up or spin down the accreting black holes due to the short lifetime of the system or the lack of sufficient mass supply from the donor star. Therefore, the black hole mass and spin distribution we observe today also reflects that at birth and places interesting constraints on the supernova explosion models across the mass spectrum. On the other hand, it has long been puzzled that accretion from a Keplerian accretion disk with large enough mass supply might spin up the black hole to extremity, thus violate Penrose's cosmic censorship conjecture and the third law of black hole dynamics. This prompted Thorne to propose an astrophysical solution which caps the maximum attainable black hole spin to a value slightly below unity. We show that the black hole will never reach extreme Kerr state under any circumstances by accreting Keplerian angular momentum from the last stable orbit and the cosmic censorship will always be upheld. The maximum black hole spin which can be reached for a fixed, astrophysically meaningful accretion rate is, however, very close to unity, thus the peak spin rate of black holes one can hope to observe from Nature is still 0.998, the Thorne limit.
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