Illustration of Cygnus X-1

Illustration of Cygnus X-1


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Illustration of Cygnus X-1, a possible black hole, as seen from a nearby asteroid. Cygnus X-1 is an intense X-ray source within our galaxy. The illustration shows the supergiant star HDE 226868 (white oval at left), the binary companion of Cygnus X-1, from which matter is being drawn off toward the black hole. This matter collects in a spiralling accretion disc before finally being pulled into the black hole by its massive gravitational force. As the matter approaches the 'event horizon' from which nothing may escape, it is heated to high energies, resulting in the emission of X-rays.

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