Astronomers have been treated to the brightest and largest group of X-Ray ring echoes by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. These are the brightest and the biggest ones astronomers have ever seen before and they are the link between determining how far the neutron star, that made these flares, really is.
NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory is a telescope specially designed to detect X-ray emission from very hot regions of the Universe such as exploded stars, clusters of galaxies, and matter around black holes. Because X-rays are absorbed by Earth’s atmosphere, Chandra must orbit above it, up to an altitude of 139,000 km (86,500 mi) in space. The Smithsonian’s Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, MA, hosts the Chandra X-ray Center which operates the satellite, processes the data, and distributes it to scientists around the world for analysis. The Center maintains an extensive public web site about the science results and an education program, as reported by Harvard.
The X-rays bounce off dust clouds, providing researchers with a tool to help gauge their distance from Earth.
The rings which belong to the double star system, Circinus X-1, is a system that consists of a regular star and a neutron star. Neutron stars are stars that are compressed by their supernova.
Scientists calculated the speed of the jets sent into space at a speed of 99.7% the speed of light. This kind of speed is seen by jets coming from black holes.
Dubbed as ‘Lord of the Rings’ by author Michael Burton of the University of New South Wales in Sydney, he also joked that this one has nothing to do with Sauron.
Leader of the study Sebastian Heinz of the University of Wisconsin in Madison said that it was really difficult to get accurate distance measurements in astronomy because only a handful of methods are available.
“But just as bats use sonar to triangulate their location, we can use the X-rays from Circinus X-1 to figure out exactly where it is,” Heinz said.
(For further information, you may check out the study published in The Astrophysical Journal)