New Delhi | Jagran Trending Desk: In what could help researchers and astronomers find out more about outer space, a new study about the first black hole -- Cygnus X-1 -- that was detected in 1964 has revealed about its hidden secrets and details.

According to a report by Reuters, the new study about Cygnus X-1 has found that the black hole, which is orbiting in a stellar marriage with a large and luminous star, has found that it is 50 per cent more massive and is farther away from Earth than previously calculated.

Black holes are extremely dense, with gravitational pulls so ferocious not even light escapes. Some - the "supermassive" black holes - are immense, like the one at our Milky Way galaxy's centre 4 million times the sun's mass. Smaller "stellar-mass" black holes possess the mass of a single star.

Cygnus X-1 is the Milky Way's largest-known stellar-mass black hole and among the strongest X-ray sources seen from Earth, said astronomer James Miller-Jones of Curtin University and the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research in Australia, who led the study published in the journal Science.

This black hole spins so rapidly, nearly light speed, that it approaches the maximum rate envisioned under physicist Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity, Miller-Jones added.

It devours material blowing from the surface of the companion star it tightly orbits, a "blue supergiant" about 40 times our sun's mass. It started its existence 4 million to 5 million years ago as a star up to 75 times the sun's mass and collapsed into a black hole a few tens of thousands of years ago.

The research included data from the Very Long Baseline Array radio telescope comprising 10 US observation stations.

After Cygnus X-1 was first tabbed as a black hole, a wager was made between physicists Stephen Hawking, who bet against it being one, and Kip Thorne, who bet it was. Hawking eventually conceded, owing Thorne a Penthouse magazine subscription.

"Indeed, I did not have any wagers riding on these findings," Miller-Jones said.

(With inputs from Reuters)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma