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BLACK HOLE - Lux foraminis nigris

Proving of Cygnus X-1, Black Hole, Lux foraminis nigris

Remedy Abbreviation: undetermined


Jason-Aeric Huenecke CCH, RSHom (NA)


The remedy was prepared by Rowan Jackson and astronomer, Peter Lipscomb, using an 8″ telescope, Meade LX90 aperture telescope. A vial of alcohol was affixed to the viewing end as the telescope was focused on Cygnus X-1’s location within the Cygnus constellation.


Lori Foley and Sandra Haering


Twenty provers took the remedy administered in 30C potencies. The proving was double blind format in which neither the supervisors nor the provers were aware of the substance they were taking. During the proving, provers logged symptoms on a daily basis and were in daily contact with their supervisor until symptoms subsided.


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A Black Hole, Cygnus X-1, Natural History

Several thousand light-years away, near the “heart” of Cygnus, the swan, constellation two stars are locked in a gravitational embrace. One star is a blue supergiant. The other star is 5 to 10 times the mass of the Sun, but it’s extremely small.

As the two stars orbit each other once every 5-6 days, this compact star’s gravitational pull causes the blue supergiant to “bulge” toward it.  In profile, the supergiant would resemble an egg, with the small end aimed at the compact star.  This compact object with a tremendous gravitational pull is now widely agreed to be a Black Hole.

This system is called Cygnus X-1, because it was the first source of X-rays discovered in the constellation Cygnus.  Discovered by a satellite in the early 1970s, it was also one of the first suspected black holes.  It then became the subject of a friendly scientific wager between physicists Stephen Hawking and Kip Thorne in 1974, with Hawking betting that it was not a black hole.  He conceded the bet in 1990 after observational data had strengthened the case for its designation as a Black Hole.


Detecting a Black Hole

Black holes don’t give off light, so we can’t just look for them. However, astronomers can find black holes and neutron stars by observing the gravitational effects on other objects nearby.

Astronomers can discover some black holes because they are sources of x-rays. The intense gravity from a black hole or a neutron star will pull in dust particles from a surrounding cloud of dust or a nearby star. As the particles speed up and heat up, they emit x-rays. So the x-rays don’t come directly from the black hole, but from its effect on the dust around it. Although x-rays don’t penetrate our atmosphere, astronomers use satellites to observe x-ray sources in the sky.


Formation of Cygnus X-1

Although Black Holes can be formed by stars that turn supernova, given data studied Cygnus X-1 most likely formed as a result of the progenitor star collapsing directly into a black hole without exploding (or at most produced only a relatively modest explosion).

The Event Horizon

Once a giant star dies and a black hole has formed, all its mass is squeezed into a single point. At this point, both space and time stop.   It’s very hard for us to imagine a place where mass has no volume and time does not pass, but that’s what it is like at the center of a black hole. (Theme: Void, Empty)

The point at the center of a black hole is called a singularity. Within a certain distance of the singularity, the gravitational pull is so strong that nothing–not even light–can escape. That distance is called the event horizon. The event horizon is not a physical boundary but the point-of-no-return for anything that crosses it.  When people talk about the size of a black hole, they are referring to the size of the event horizon.

The center of a black hole, the singularity, is the point where the laws of physics break down. These singularities are hidden, or ‘clothed’ by the black hole, so that the effects of the breakdown cannot be observed by people outside.

At the center of a black hole, spacetime has infinite curvature and matter is crushed to infinite density under the pull of ‘infinite’ gravity. At a singularity, space and time cease to exist as we know them.    The laws of physics as we know them break down at a singularity, thus, making it impossible to envision something with zero volume and infinite density, such qualities of a black hole.


Gravitational Pull

Many people think that nothing can escape the intense gravity of black holes. If that were true, the whole Universe would get sucked up. Only when something (including light) gets within a certain distance from the black hole, will it not be able to escape. But farther away, things do not get sucked in. Stars and planets at a safe distance will circle around the black hole, much like the motion of the planets around the Sun. The gravitational force on stars and planets orbiting a black hole is the same as when the black hole was a star because gravity depends on how much mass there is–the black hole has the same mass as the star, it’s just compressed.

Black holes are truly black. Light rays that get too close bend into, and are trapped by the intense gravity of the black hole. Trapped light rays will never escape.  Since black holes do not shine, they are difficult to detect.


What Happens Within a Black Hole

Hot gas forms a wide, flat accretion disk that encircles the black hole. Friction heats the gas to a billion degrees or more, causing it to emit a torrent of X-rays — enough to fry any living thing within millions of miles

As matter falls toward the compact object, energy is released, dissipated by jets of particles that flow perpendicular to the accretion disk.  These jets flow outward with high velocities.  This pair of jets provide a means for the accretion disk to shed excess energy.

The x-ray glow from Cygnus X-1 isn’t steady.  Instead, it flickers, which is one bit of evidence that identifies this dark member as a black hole. Gas enters the outer edge of the accretion disk then spirals closer to the star.  If the center of the disk contained a normal star, or even a superdense neutron star, then the disk would get hotter and brighter all the way in to its center, with the brightest X-rays coming from the middle.  Instead, the X-ray glow cuts off well outside the center of the disk.  Observations with Hubble Space Telescope reveal that the central region occasionally flares up as blobs of gas break off the inner edge of the disk and spiral into the black hole.

These blobs are accelerated to a large fraction of the speed of light, so they circle the black hole hundreds of times per second. This causes the system’s X-rays to “flicker.” If the blobs of gas were orbiting a larger object, they would not move as fast, so their high-speed revolution is one bit of circumstantial evidence that identifies the dark companion as a black hole.

The black hole’s strong gravitational field “redshifts” the energy emitted by this gas to longer and longer wavelengths. Eventually, as the gas approaches the event horizon, the redshift becomes so great that the material disappears from view — just before it spirals into the black hole.  (Theme: Spiraling and Undulating)

Black Holes and the Formation of New Galaxies

(See Video: Black Holes, Creation of Galaxies)

There is a growing body of evidence suggesting black holes are integral players in galaxy formation.

We think of black holes as sucking things in, but they have shown that when a jet emits from a black hole, it can bring new life by collapsing clouds and creating new stars.

Most large galaxies have a central black hole, and often they emit jets of high-speed material.  In a galaxy known as NGC 541, its central black hole acts like a giant dynamo, accelerating globs of superheated matter and shooting them out along the axis of rotation. The jets are invisible, but astronomers have detected them with radio telescopes.

The radio jet plows into a cloud of nearby gas in a supersonic shock wave, compressing and heating the gas. Gas in the cloud becomes ionized and after the shock passes, the ions recombine, creating radiation, which transports energy out of the cloud. The cooling causes the cloud to contract still further, and when a knot of gas becomes dense enough, it can collapse to form a star.

In the early universe this process may be important because the galaxies are still young, with lots of hydrogen gas but few stars, and the black holes are more active.  In the first few billion years after the Big Bang, when things were more crowded and chaotic, black hole jets probably triggered star formation in many nascent galleries.

Other researchers believe that these black holes located at the center of galaxies were what pulled the drifting stars and planets into a spiral pattern that resulted in a new spiral galaxy.


Black Hole Facts

In the strictest and most exact sense, there are currently 14 known black holes.

The known closest black hole to Earth is Cygnus X-1, located about 8000 light years away.

In theory, any matter can become black holes, as long as they are compressed to zero volume and thus, yielding infinite density. However, only the largest of stars have cores capable with the gravitational force to compress the star to the Schwarzschild radius. Most others stars without this gravitational force end up as neutron stars and white dwarfs.


Britt, Robert Roy.  “Forces of Creation: Black Holes Spark Star Formation” February 2004.

Chow, Aaron.  “Black Holes, Interesting Facts”

Gebhardt, Karl.  Universityof Texas, McDonald Observatory.  “Black Hole Excyclopedia.”  May 2009

Miller, Chris. “Black Holes and Neutron Stars.  September 2003.

Wikipedia; Wikimedia Foundation Inc. “Cygnus X-1.”

Youtube Video Black Holes: Creation and Consumption of Spiral Galaxies

BBC Science; Meet the Supermassive Black Hole Experts, Video

Science Made Fun; Black Holes, Video

SpaceRip, Mysterious Black Holes, Video (21:50)

Star Formation
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