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More Images: Huge Rings Around a Black Hole
1
X-ray, Optical, & Infrared Images of V404 Cygni
(Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/U.Wisc-Madison/S. Heinz et al.; Optical/IR: Pan-STARRS)
Click for large jpg Composite
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Click for large jpg X-ray
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Click for large jpg Optical &
Infrared
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Click for large jpg Chandra
Field of View
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Click for large jpg Pan-STARRS
Field of View
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Click for large jpg V404 Cygni Rings
(labeled)
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The black hole in V404 Cygni is actively pulling material away from a companion star — with about half the mass of the Sun — into a disk around the invisible object. A burst of X-rays from the black hole detected in 2015 created the high-energy rings from a phenomenon known as light echoes, where light bounces off of dust clouds in between the system and Earth. In these images, X-rays from Chandra are shown, along with optical data from the Pan-STARRS telescope that depict the stars in the field of view. Each of the concentric rings is created by the burst of X-rays reflecting off dust clouds at different distances. The rings are shown incomplete, with gaps at the upper left, upper right, and middle areas. These gaps show the edges of Chandra's field of view during the observations, or the sections of the field Chandra did not observe.

2
Illustration
(Credit: Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison/S.Heinz)
Click for large jpg Ring Production
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This artist's illustration shows in detail how the ringed structure seen by Chandra and Swift is produced. Each ring is caused by X-rays bouncing off of different dust clouds. If the cloud is closer to us, the ring appears to be larger. The result is a set of concentric rings with different apparent sizes depending on the distance of the intervening cloud from us.


Return to: Huge Rings Around a Black Hole (August 5, 2021)