|Star names||Black Hole/Supergiant binary|
Cygnus X-1 is a binary star system composed of a black hole and a supergiant primary, where matter from the supergiant forms an accretion disk around the black hole and generates a vast outflow of X-ray radiation. In 3002 it was visited by the Explorer Corps vessel ECV Herschel that had previously surveyed the star Sador (Gamma Cygni) and then traveled a short distance from there to Cygnus X-1 which they studied from a "safe distance" (see Notes).
It seems unlikely that such a system could have planets; even if it did, it seems safe to assume they would be uninhabitable, given that the Herschel had to keep a notable distance to study the system.
- Cygnus X-1 is a real stellar object, known to be a source of intense X-ray radiation and thought to be a black hole. Like its BattleTech counterpart, it is closely orbited by a blue supergiant star that gives off matter which forms an accretion disk around Cygnus X-1. However, the real Cygnus X-1 system is located ca. 6,070 light years from the Sol system whereas its BattleTech counterpart was reached after traveling a short distance from Sador, which in turn was described as merely 815 light years away from Sol (whereas the real, nonfictional Sador is some 1,800 light years from Sol). It could be assumed that the "safe distance" the Herschel had to keep from the Cygnus X-1 black hole/supergiant binary system was measured in astronomical terms, and that the vessel therefore travelled a short distance from Sador to observe Cygnus X-1 from a safe distance that was actually several hundred light-years away.
- The actual position of either Sador or Cygnus X-1 on the BattleTech starmap are unspecified, though like their real-world counterparts they apparently lie in almost the same direction as seen from Earth.
- Despite the presence of the black hole and its real-world nature as primarily an intense source of X-ray radiation, Cygnus X-1 is considered a (binary) star system for the purpose of the Sarna BattleTechWiki, vice solely a non-system astronomical feature.
- Explorer Corps, p. 6, "The Early Years"