A Famous Black Hole Gets a Massive Update
Sometimes, depending on the circumstance, this endgame collapse is marked by a Spectacular supernova explosion. In this case, however, Drs. Miller-Jones wrote in an email, “We think the black hole is formed almost as a black hole through direct collapse, not in a Type II supernova explosion.” Such an explosion, he said, would have ejected the binary star pair from a combination of the same massive stars in which it was formed and, apparently, still remains.
Since then, the black hole has been feeding, drawing in gas from its puffed-up neighbor with a mass of about 40 solar masses, Drs. According to Miller-Jones, there is a lot to offer.
The new measurement of Cygnus X-1’s mass was critical. Dr. “We did not set out to compensate for distance and black-hole mass,” Miller-Jones said. “But when we analyzed our data, we realized its full potential.”
In the spring of 2016, Drs. Miller-Jones and his group spent six days observing the Cygnus X-1 with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s very long baseline array, a nationwide network of antennas operating outside Socorro, NM as they tried to investigate. Relationship between X-ray-emitting gas flowing in a black hole and a high-speed radio jet.
But part of the process allowed him to reduce the distance from the Cygnus X-1, increasing it from about 6,000 light-years to a little over 7,000. Interestingly, Drs. As Miller-James noted, this gave the distance in better agreement with the early results of the European Space Agency’s Gaia Space Telescope, whose measurements were in mild tension with the previously accepted distance.
When the change in distance was divided into light and mass calculations, the estimated mass of the black hole increased to about 40 percent, 21 solar masses.