Cygnus X-1 contains a 21–solar mass black hole—Implications for massive star winds

James C. A. Miller-Jones, Arash Bahramian, Jerome A. Orosz, Ilya Mandel, Lijun Gou, T. J. Maccarone, C. Neijssel, Xueshan Zhao, Janusz Ziółkowski, Mark J. Reid, Phil Uttley, Xueying Zheng, Do Young Byun, Richard Dodson, Victoria Grinberg, Taehyun Jung, Sook Kim, Benito Marcote, Sera Markoff, Maria Rioja CapellanAnthony P. Rushton, David M. Russell, Gregory R. Sivakoff, Alexandra J. Tetarenko, Valeriu Tudose, Joern Wilms

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


The evolution of massive stars is influenced by the mass lost to stellar winds over their lifetimes. These winds limit the masses of the stellar remnants (such as black holes) that the stars ultimately produce. We use radio astrometry to refine the distance to the black hole X-ray binary Cygnus X-1, which we find to be 2.22+0.18−0.17 kiloparsecs. When combined with previous optical data, this implies a black hole mass of 21.2±2.2 solar masses, higher than previous measurements. The formation of such a high-mass black hole in a high-metallicity system constrains wind mass loss from massive stars.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1046–1049
Issue number6533
Early online date18 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2021

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