Universe

Cygnus X-1 system. Black holes, deep space

Cygnus X-1 system. Black holes, deep space

With the name of Cygnus X-1 a very bright source of X-rays is designated that is located in the constellation of the Swan, 8,124 light years from Earth. It is a binary system composed of two stars linked gravitationally. One of them is a super blue giant, called HDE 226868. The other object, small in size, is the "corpse" of a star, which due to its large mass is considered to have become a black hole.

The star HDE 226868 is 30 times more massive than the Sun and 400,000 times brighter. For its part, the black hole has between 5 and 10 times the mass of the Sun. Both objects make up the Cygnus X-1 system, which was discovered by the Uhuru X-ray satellite in the early 1970s.

As in any binary X-ray system, the black hole is not the one that emits the X-rays, but the matter that is about to fall into it. This matter is formed by gas and plasma, and forms a disk that orbits around the black hole reaching temperatures of millions of degrees Kelvin.

In the Cygnus X-1 system you can also see several columns of matter that collide with the interstellar medium giving rise to an emission arc in the optic. To generate this arc, these jets of matter must have a power of 20,000 times the power of our Sun.

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