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New Look at First Confirmed Black Hole

Credits

Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach in collaboration with NASA’s Universe of Learning partners: Caltech/IPAC, Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
 
Video imagery:

Simulated black hole and its accretion disk: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Jeremy Schnittman
Illustration of the Cygnus X-1 system: John Paice.

Writer: Leah Ramsay
Designer: Leah Hustak, Joseph Olmsted
Science review: Dr. Kelly Lepo, Dr. Chris Britt
Education review: Jim Manning
Music from Music for Non-Profits
Transcript

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Text: News from the Universe. November 14, 2022, Animation. New look at first confirmed black hole. The region immediately surrounding a black hole is one of the most extreme physical environments known. In an animation, red rings surround a black hole.
 
NASA's I.X.P.E. mission is leading the new X-ray research into understanding black holes and how spacetime is curved around them. In the animation, spacetime curves around the black hole.
 
I.X.P.E. observations of Cygnus X-1, the first cosmic object ever identified as containing a black hole, reveal the orientation of its corona, or ring of hot plasma. In an illustration, Cygnus X-1 contains a black hole.
 
Text: The observations match models predicting that the corona either sandwiches the disk of matter spiraling toward the black hole or replaces the inner portion of that disk.
 
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I.X.P.E. data rule out models in which the corona is a narrow plasma column or cone along the jet axis.
 
This news was brought to you in part by the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.