Cygnus X-1: A Stellar Mass Black Hole On the... - Wissenschaft und Deutsch

Cygnus X-1: A Stellar Mass Black Hole

On the left, an optical image 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 this image that spans some 700 light years across. An artist’s illustration on the right 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. 

A trio of papers with data from radio, optical and X-ray telescopes, including NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, has revealed new details about the birth of this famous black hole that took place millions of years ago. Using X-ray data from Chandra, the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer, and the Advanced Satellite for Cosmology and Astrophysics, scientists were able to determine the spin of Cygnus X-1 with unprecedented accuracy, showing that the black hole is spinning at very close to its maximum rate. Its event horizon — the point of no return for material falling towards a black hole — is spinning around more than 800 times a second. 

Using optical observations of the companion star and its motion around its unseen companion, the team also made the most precise determination ever for the mass of Cygnus X-1, of 14.8 times the mass of the Sun. It was likely to have been almost this massive at birth, because of lack of time for it to grow appreciably. 

The researchers also announced that they have made the most accurate distance estimate yet of Cygnus X-1 using the National Radio Observatory’s Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA). The new distance is about 6,070 light years from Earth. This accurate distance was a crucial ingredient for making the precise mass and spin determinations. 


  1. vlrcvd reblogged this from gatotx
  2. gatotx reblogged this from scienceyoucanlove
  3. ohheykayleen reblogged this from scienceyoucanlove
  4. road-to-my-inside reblogged this from scienceyoucanlove
  5. theguynextdoorx reblogged this from scienceyoucanlove
  6. stetitmareanobis reblogged this from scienceyoucanlove
  7. sugah-bread666 reblogged this from scienceyoucanlove
  8. feline-biologist reblogged this from scienceyoucanlove
  9. taneleertivanthecollector reblogged this from scienceyoucanlove
  10. vintage-pain reblogged this from postmortemdecay666
  11. notwitternat reblogged this from mypocketshurt90
  12. starwhal reblogged this from lesbipocalypse
  13. lesbipocalypse reblogged this from witchbladehost
  14. noirchouko reblogged this from knivesandanchors
  15. musicismyeverything2334 reblogged this from mister-taxi
  16. mister-taxi reblogged this from quantum-immortal
  17. inbilla-sig reblogged this from scienceyoucanlove
  18. iammeanttowander reblogged this from kapplesss
  19. an-asian-pers0n reblogged this from deustiel
  20. deustiel reblogged this from khaleesinthetardis
  21. squishy-ass-witch reblogged this from physicscaucie
  22. boomermage reblogged this from we-are-star-stuff
  23. black-morphine reblogged this from mdsf94
  24. mdsf94 reblogged this from kapplesss
  25. kapplesss reblogged this from shychemist
  26. wasteland-observer reblogged this from khaleesinthetardis
  27. khaleesinthetardis reblogged this from mypocketshurt90
  28. highemperorcuco reblogged this from invictascientia
  29. tumbleaboutit reblogged this from sephirajo
  30. tehrymeister reblogged this from whatisnormalme
  31. thatgirl120 reblogged this from invictascientia
  32. invictascientia reblogged this from scienceyoucanlove