Thursday, March 21, 2013
Star and a black hole revolving in rapid waltz
Space Telescope European Space Agency's XMM-Newton helped discover a star and a black hole that address near each other at high speed, making one revolution in just 2.4 hours - which is an hour shorter than the orbital period of the previous record holder.
A black hole in the close pair, known as the MAXI J1659-152, at least three times as massive as the Sun, while the mass of its companion star - a red dwarf star - only 20% of the solar mass.
Pair separated by a distance of about one million kilometers.
This pair was opened September 25, 2010 Space Telescope, NASA Swift, and at first the scientists took this event for the gamma-ray burst. Later in the day, Japanese telescope MAXI, located on the ISS, discovered a bright X-ray source at the same location. Further observations, made using space telescope XMM-Newton, allowed astronomers to associate the event with a black hole, absorbing its tiny companion.
A new study on black hole MAXI J1659-152 was published recently in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.
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