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Space Science

The Fate of the First Known Black Hole 67

sciencehabit writes "Cygnus X-1 bears its name because it was the first source of x-rays found in the constellation Cygnus. In 1971, astronomers discovered that the x-rays came from the direction of a bright blue star whirling around a mysterious dark object. They speculated that the x-rays were resulting from material being torn away from the bright star and falling onto the dark object, perhaps a black hole. This year, astronomers established that Cygnus X-1 does indeed harbor a black hole, a dead star whose great gravity lets nothing, not even light, escape. Now that result has inspired a forecast for the system's future: The black hole will swallow even more mass from an unfortunate star circling it, then likely dash away on its own when its companion explodes."
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The Fate of the First Known Black Hole

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  • Not me (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 08, 2011 @07:21PM (#37028134)

    No, I didn't. Honest... I ran out of gas. I... I had a flat tire. I didn't have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn't come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake. A terrible flood. Locusts! IT WASN'T MY FAULT, I SWEAR TO GOD!

  • by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Monday August 08, 2011 @08:00PM (#37028436) Homepage

    This is a corollary of relativistic mass-energy equivalence (E=mc^2).

    A lot of people (and I sympathize because I was one of them for years) mistakenly believe that E=mc^2 is about the energy content of matter, and how you could convert mass to energy via, say, matter/anti-matter annihilation. Which when thought of as converting one form of energy to another is true, but hides the deeper truth: Matter isn't just a type of energy that has mass, all energy has mass, they are really the same thing.

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