Feeds

Andromeda home to micro-quasar

Little black hole is big sucker

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The National Science Foundation’s National Radio Astronomy Observatory has spotted an X-ray source in Andromeda, 2.5 million light-years distant, that it’s tagged as a “micro-quasar” and says is the first discovered beyond the Milky Way.

The object, XMMU J004243.6+412519 (love the naming convention), is a black hole with an estimated mass around 10 times that of the Sun, devouring the mass of a companion star.

Its theft of mass from its companion (probably a red giant, the observatory says) gives rise to the quasar properties, with the superheated incoming material giving off X-rays and radio waves as its goodbye-cruel-universe message on the way into the gravity well.

Astrophysicists like micro-quasars, since they believe they work on the same basic properties as the black holes in the centre of galaxies, but operating on a faster (and therefore more friendly to human observation) time-scale.

The Andromeda galaxy, with faint red cross-hairs showing the location of the micro quasar

Source: NRAO, Robert Gendler

“In the smaller systems, things happen much more rapidly, giving us more data to help understand the physics at work," Matthew Middleton, of the University of Durham in the UK and the Astronomical Institute Anton Pannekoek, in Amsterdam, Netherlands, leader of the research team said in this statement.

The instrument that first spotted XMMU[etcetera] was the orbiting XMM-Newton X-ray observatory, with the Swift and Chandra satellites adding eight weeks of observations back in January. Further observations were provided by the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) and Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), and the Arcminute Microkelvin Imager Large Array in the United Kingdom.

In the terms of quasars, XMMU[etc] is quite small: the NRAO statement says the emitting region is around the same as the distance between the Sun and Jupiter, making it too small for even the VLBA to resolve details. However, both X-ray and radio emissions “closely parallel” the behaviour of previously-observed micro quasars. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
TRIANGULAR orbits will help Rosetta to get up close with Comet 67P
Probe will be just 10km from Space Duck in October
Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies
Gummy pterosaurs outlived toothy competitors
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
'Leccy racer whacks petrols in Oz race
ELMOFO rakes in two wins in sanctioned race
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.