Cygnus X-1 is an X-ray binary that was one of the first X-ray sources discovered when it was detected in 1962. The visible object HDE226868 is a 9th magnitude blue supergiant star whose radial velocity curve shows an orbital period of 5.6 days. The fact that the object is a strong X-ray emitter and that the optical and X-ray emission varies on very short time scales (as short as one one-thousandth of a second) suggest that the companion might be a black hole. Analysis of the radial velocity variation of the primary under the assumption that it is a normal star suggests that the mass of the companion is about 6 solar masses.
``Cygnus X-1: Genus - X-Ray Binary, Species - Black Hole'', Stokes, G. and Michalsky, J., 1979, Mercury May-Jun, 60.
``Evidence for Black Holes in Stellar Binary Systems'', Cowley, A.P., 1992, Annual Reviews of Astronomy and Astrophysics 30, 287 (see discussion of Cyg X-1 on pp. 288-290; you may also want to look at some of the references cited herein).
Search the ADS Astronomy Abstract service.
|[back to the topics page]||[back to astro 201 home page]||[back to Astro 201 FAQ page]||[back to Astro 233 FAQ page]|