Saturday, December 7, 2013

Circinus X-1

Circinus X-1: A neutron star and normal star binary pair about 26,000 light years away in the Milky Way

The youngest member of an important class of objects called X-ray binaries has been found using data from Chandra (blue) and the Australia Compact Telescope Array (purple). X-ray binaries consist of a dense object -- either a black hole or a neutron star -- in orbit with a star like the Sun. Researchers found that the neutron star in Circinus X-1 is less than 4,600 years old, making the X-ray binary much younger than any other known in the Milky Way. This discovery allows astronomers to study a critical phase after a supernova explosion and the birth of a neutron star.

Scale: Image is 10 arcmin across (about 76 light years).

Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison/S.Heinz et al; Optical: DSS; Radio: CSIRO/ATNF/ATCA

Note: For more information, see Circinus X-1: Supernova Blast Provides Clues to Age of Binary Star System.

No comments: