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Posts Tagged ‘Gamma-Ray Flares

‘Odd Couple’ Binary Star System Makes Dual Gamma-Ray Flares

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This diagram, which illustrates the view from Earth, shows the binary's anatomy as well as key events in the pulsar's recent close approach.

In December 2010, a pair of mismatched stars in the southern constellation Crux whisked past each other at a distance closer than Venus orbits the sun. The system possesses a so-far unique blend of a hot and massive star with a compact fast-spinning pulsar. The pair’s closest encounters occur every 3.4 years and each is marked by a sharp increase in gamma rays, the most extreme form of light.

The unique combination of stars, the long wait between close approaches, and periods of intense gamma-ray emission make this system irresistible to astrophysicists. Now, a team using NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope to observe the 2010 encounter reports that the system displayed fascinating and unanticipated activity…… Read the rest of this entry »

Written by physicsgg

July 3, 2011 at 7:22 am

Posted in ASTRONOMY

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