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Space Theory Comes To Life

SD Astronomer Helps Probe Universe To Quantify Black Hole

Above: Cygnus X-1 is a black hole about 15 times the mass of the Sun in orbit with a massive blue companion star. Astronomers used several telescopes to study Cygnus X-1. The combined data have revealed the spin, mass, and distance of this black hole more precisely than ever before.

Aired 11/28/11 on KPBS Midday Edition.


Dr. Jerry Orosz, Associate Professor of Astronomy, San Diego State University

Take a tour of Cygnus X-1


Cygnus X-1 is described by some astronomers as the iconic black hole. In theory, it displays the quintessential characteristics of what a black hole is supposed to be. The only problem is until very recently, some scientists were not convinced that Cygnus X-1 really contained a black hole. Now, due in part to the work of SDSU astronomy department the evidence seems overwhelming.

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