mei 062012


Since the 1980s, astronomers have known about a mysterious class of objects that they call “ultraluminous X-ray sources,” or ULXs. They named them this because these objects give off more X-rays than most other binary star systems where black holes or neutron stars are in orbit around a normal companion star.


Recently, scientists using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and optical telescopes spotted a ULX in the spiral galaxy M83 that was acting even more strangely. This ULX increased its output in X-rays by 3,000 times over the course of several years.

Using clues found in the X-ray and optical data, researchers think this ULX may be a member of a population of black holes that up until now was suspected to exist but had not been confirmed.

These black holes, which are the smaller stellar-mass black holes (ones that form from the collapse of a giant star), are older and more active than previously thought.

credit: close-ups: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Curtin University/R.Soria et al.  optical: NASA/STScI/Middlebury College/F.Winkler et al.

See for more information: NASA’s Chandra Sees Remarkable Outburst From Old Black Hole

Source: Chandra X-ray Observatory

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