Cygnus X-1

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Chandra X-ray
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Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
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Cygnus X-1: A black hole in close orbit around a blue supergiant star about 6,000 light years from Earth.
(Credit: NASA/CXC/SAO)

Caption: About a decade after its discovery in 1964, a combination of X-ray and optical observations led to the conclusion that Cygnus X-1 was a black hole - the first such identification. The Cygnus X-1 system consists of a black hole with a mass about 10 times that of the Sun in a close orbit with a blue supergiant star with a mass of about 20 Suns. Because of its brightness and close proximity, Cygnus X-1 continues to attract the interest of scientists seeking to understand the nature of black holes and how they affect their environment.

Scale: Image is 4.7 arcmin across.

Chandra X-ray Observatory ACIS Image

CXC operated for NASA by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
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