Space Tulip and a Black Hole!

This is the Tulip Nebula in Cygnus, but see that shell-like structure just above it, to the right a little? That’s the bow shock wave of Cygnus X-1, a stellar-mass black hole! It’s one of the most powerful X-ray sources in the sky – but don’t worry, our atmosphere protects you from it.

20 hours of exposure time went into this image! Presented below in an approximation of its red, natural color, and also in the “Hubble palette” narrowband colors. With and without stars – with stars removed, the shock wave is easier to see.

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