X-ray Polarimetry Unveils Never-Before-Seen Matter Around The Cygnus X-1 Black Hole

X-ray Polarimetry Unveils Never-Before-Seen Matter Around The Cygnus X-1 Black Hole
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The Cygnus X-1 black hole, situated in the Cygnus constellation, was the first one to be declared a black hole after scientists discovered it in 1964. Now, employing X-ray polarimetry, researchers unveiled a never-before-seen matter around the Cygnus X-1 black hole.

The scientists from the Hiroshima University, in Japan, managed to use X-ray technology to reveal how the matter surrounding the black hole in the center of the binary system Cygnus X-1 gets altered by the intense gravitational forces. The study also paved the way for new research into physics of strong gravity and evolution of black holes in the Universe.

The Cygnus X-1 black hole is among the most potent sources of X-ray emissions and is about 15 times more massive than the Sun. It is also the brightest source of X-rays. This unique geometry of the matter that generates such an intense light has baffled the astronomers until now.

Never-before-seen matter around Cygnus X-1 black holes unveiled with X-ray polarimetry

The team of researchers at the Hiroshima University managed to disclose what’s the source of such an intensity of light.

Scientists launched an X-ray polarimeter on a balloon called PoGO+ to estimate the polarization of the light. After analyzing the results, the researcher revealed that the corona of the black hole is more extensive than previously considered and it broad around the vicinity of the black hole.

Also, such observations might also help scientists estimate the space object’s spins. With this information, astronomers would be able to learn more about the evolution of black holes, as these spins are those which cause the space-time alterations around the black holes.

The recent research that describes the never-seen-before matter around Cygnus X-1 black hole, called “Accretion geometry of the black-hole binary Cygnus X-1 from X-ray polarimetry,” is issued in the Nature Astronomy journal.


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