For decades astronomers and astronomers have known Cygnus X-1, a binary star system formed by a black hole in the stellar mass and a blue supergiant star encircling it.
The pair has traced some 6,200 light points for years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus, a series of studies has been carried out, but only recently did an international research team apply a new technique to the shape and physical properties of matter around the black hole to understand better. 
First referred to – the black hole that is to be discovered in the universe, the emptiness of Cygnus X-1 weighs almost as much like 15 suns. It is one of the strongest X-ray sources seen from Earth, but bright light does not come from the black hole itself.
As noted, no light escapes a black hole at all. That is, there is no direct way to observe these or other blanks and to understand their properties.
However, scientists have used x-rays emitted from matter around black holes to gain insight. In this particular case, this matter comes from the star near the black hole. Star winds push the companion star's material into an accretion disk around the black hole, which is then heated to millions of degrees, resulting in a bright X-ray emission.
Scientists have long known about the accretion disk, but no one really understands the geometry of the matter that forms them, because X-rays scatter in many directions due to relativistic effects, just like visible light from the Sun.
"It's the same situation with hard X-rays around a black hole," Hiromitsu Takahashi, an assistant professor at Hiroshima University and one of the co-authors of the latest work, said in a statement.
In the case of sunlight, a polarized filter can contain the vibrations of light in one direction. "But hard X-rays and gamma rays coming from near the black hole penetrate this filter," Takahashi added. "There are no such 'goggles' for these rays, so we need another special kind of treatment to direct this scattering and measure light".
Here the group used a technique called x-ray polarimetry. They used an x-ray polarimeter – an instrument to measure the polarization of light – on a balloon called PoGO + and measured where the light came from and where it began to scatter.
The entire effort revealed how much X-ray radiation was reflected from the X-ray accretion disk and helped the team to predict the shape of the material. They designed two separate models that describe how matter can appear in a binary form formed with a black hole – the lamp post model and the expanded model.
According to the first model, the corona of the black hole is a mysterious source of high-energy particles, extremely compact and tightly bound to the void. In this way, more photons bend towards the accretion disk, resulting in an increased amount of reflected light.
The second model, on the other hand, is the exact opposite, suggesting that the corona is much larger in the vicinity of the black hole, resulting in much weaker X-rays from the disk.
Although both theories sounded promising, the team found that the observations in the study are more consistent with the extended model, as there is not much evidence of bending light near the black hole of Cygnus X-1. They believe that this and other related work will reveal more about the properties of black holes and their environment.