Black Hotes and Time Warps: However, a black hole, by definition, offers no direct view of its radial velocity. Still, a spectral signature like Cygnus X-1's draws our attention to promising candidates. As we will soon see, this window of opportunity is critical to establishing the compact object's mass.
For example, Jorge Casares and coauthor Charles used the 4. The gravitational potential energy of the gas is converted into heat by friction, and the inner accretion disk, close to the compact object, blazes at millions of degrees.
Seward, Exploring the X-ray Universe. March , page
Further Reading Charles, Philip A. J, the first of the SXTs that has shown convincing albeit partial eclipses in its optical light curve, must have an inclination of at least 70 [degrees]. March , page
This we may be able to observe what happens in the immediate surroundings of a stellar-mass black hole's event horizon. For Cygnus X-1 the value is about kilometers, arguing strongly for a highly compact object. Short of black holes themselves, the densest form of stellar matter is a neutron star.
For the latter, such data already yield a minimum mass of 6. Based on well-understood nuclear physics and the bedrock of general relativity, theorists predict that a neutron star cannot bear more than about three times the Sun's mass without collapsing to form a black hole. As we will soon see, this window of opportunity is critical to establishing the compact object's mass. Indirect clues may come from the glowing accretion disk around it, but the black hole is so much more massive than its companion that it hardly moves at all, making this an extremely difficult measurement.
Posted by: Jusho | on October 2, 2012
The companion's low mass in an SXT also makes "weighing" the black-hole candidate less dependent on knowing the companion's mass accurately. By contrast, black holes with a tiny fraction of that mass presumably result from the collapse of individual stars in super-nova explosions. In January , when Jeffrey E.
What does the mass function tell us about a putative black hole? If a compact object shows a mass of, say, 8 Suns, then we infer the presence of a black hole because we do not believe that neutron stars this massive can exist, and because general relativity tells us that a black hole is the only alternative.
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