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The latest discovery of a cosmic black hole

A study that revealed new details about a black hole was first discovered in 1964. Scientists believe it has more mass than previously published figures.

On February 18, researchers observed that the Cygnus X-1 black hole orbits a large, bright star. This observation indicates that Cygnus X-1 is 21 times the mass of the Sun, and 50% heavier than previously known.

Cygnus X-1 is one of the closest black holes to Earth. However, scientists have calculated that it has a greater distance than previously published calculations. The distance from this black hole to Earth is about 7200 light years (the distance light travels in a year) and about 9.500 billion km.

Black holes are extremely dense with very strong suction force, even light cannot escape. Several giant black holes are as massive as one in the center of the Milky Way, 4 million times the mass of the Sun. Small black holes have the mass of a star.

Astronomer James Miller-Jones of Curtin University and the Center for International Radio Astronomy Research (Australia) has said that Cygnus X-1 is the most massive black hole (in stellar mass units) known in the Milky Way. At the same time, it is also one of the places that emits the strongest X-rays.

Miller-Jones adds that the black hole spins so quickly that it is almost the speed of light, reaching a maximum speed based on physicist Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

It swallows matter on the surface of the stars it orbits. The mass of the absorbed matter is about 40 times the mass of the Sun.

This black hole appeared 4 to 5 million years ago. Originally, it was a star with a mass 75 times the mass of the Sun. It then collapsed and became a black hole tens of thousands of years ago.

After Cygnus X-1 was first recognized as a black hole, a bet was made between physicists and Stephen Hawking. Mr. Hawking maintains that Cygnus X-1 is not a black hole, and Kip Thorne agrees. Ultimately, Mr. Hawking has to admit that Kip Thorne is right.

“I have no bet on these results,” Miller-Jones said.

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