Feeds

'Tightly bound' stars seen locked in 'diabolic strip waltz'

Powerful lenses probe bizarre relationship

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Lurid Pic More news of the stars today: snappers armed with extremely powerful lenses have secured pics of "a very intimate couple", "tightly bound" and "dancing around each other in a diabolic waltz" as the darker, dominant one strips the other.

Artist's impression of the X-1 black hole / Wolf-Rayet binary in NGC 300. Credit: ESO

Extragalactic tightly bound intimate diabolic strip waltz action.

The pair in question are a so-called "stellar mass" black hole* and its twin, a Wolf-Rayet star perhaps 20 times as hefty as our own sun, located in the far-off galaxy NGC 300. The Wolf-Rayet star whips around the black hole every 32 hours, according to top boffins, with matter being pulled off it all the time by the intense gravitational field of its neighbour.

"This is indeed a very 'intimate' couple," says Open University astro brainbox Robin Barnard. "How such a tightly bound system has been formed is still a mystery."

Barnard and colleagues in the UK and Spain followed up on data from NASA and ESA space telescopes by using the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope to confirm the activities of the extragalactic odd couple.

According to Dr Henri Boffin of the ESO, the newly verified NGC 300 black hole system (dubbed "X-1" for the nonce) is "one of only three such objects found so far". It was Dr Boffin, too, who came up with the "diabolic waltz" bit, for which we're very grateful.

The allied astronomers present their findings in a letter entitled NGC 300 X-1 is a Wolf–Rayet/Black Hole binary, to appear in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. However, you can also read it for free courtesy of Dr Boffin: pdf here. ®

Bootnote

*That is a relatively reasonable sort of black hole on the same general scale as our Sun, produced when the remains of a very big star collapse on themselves after the star explodes. The other usual sort is an outrageously large "supermassive" black hole, one of which is generally found at the centre of a galaxy.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
Human spacecraft dodge COMET CHUNKS pelting off Mars
Odyssey orbiter yet to report, though - comet's trailing trash poses new threat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.