Cygnus X-1: NASA’s Chandra Adds to Black Hole Birth Announcement

  • Cygnus X-1 is a black hole about 15 times the mass of the Sun in orbit with a massive blue companion star.
  • Astronomers used several telescopes including Chandra to study Cygnus X-1.
  • The combined data have revealed the spin, mass, and distance of this black hole more precisely than ever before.
  • Stephen Hawking lost a bet - originally placed in 1974 — that Cygnus X-1 did not contain a black hole.

An optical image (above) from the Digitized Sky Survey shows Cygnus X-1, outlined in a red box. Cygnus X-1 is located near large active regions of star formation in the Milky Way, as seen in the image that spans some 700 light years across. The artist’s illustration (below) depicts what astronomers think is happening within the Cygnus X-1 system. Cygnus X-1 is a so-called stellar-mass black hole, a class of black holes that comes from the collapse of a massive star. The black hole pulls material from a massive, blue companion star toward it. This material forms a disk (shown in red and orange) that rotates around the black hole before falling into it or being redirected away from the black hole in the form of powerful jets.

Full Article


Credit:  Optical: DSS; Illustration: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss


Posted 11 months ago with 490 notes
Tagged:cygnus x-1scienceAstronomycosmologychandrachandra x-ray observatoryBlack Hole

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