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NASA's Swift Satellite Discovers a New Black Hole in our Galaxy

 
Rain-Man
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10/09/2012 06:22 AM
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NASA's Swift Satellite Discovers a New Black Hole in our Galaxy
NASA's Swift satellite recently detected a rising tide of high-energy X-rays from a source toward the center of our Milky Way galaxy. The outburst, produced by a rare X-ray nova, announced the presence of a previously unknown stellar-mass black hole.

"Bright X-ray novae are so rare that they're essentially once-a-mission events and this is the first one Swift has seen," said Neil Gehrels, the mission's principal investigator, at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "This is really something we've been waiting for."

An X-ray nova is a short-lived X-ray source that appears suddenly, reaches its emission peak in a few days and then fades out over a period of months. The outburst arises when a torrent of stored gas suddenly rushes toward one of the most compact objects known, either a neutron star or a black hole.

The rapidly brightening source triggered Swift's Burst Alert Telescope twice on the morning of Sept. 16, and once again the next day.

Named Swift J1745-26 after the coordinates of its sky position, the nova is located a few degrees from the center of our galaxy toward the constellation Sagittarius. While astronomers do not know its precise distance, they think the object resides about 20,000 to 30,000 light-years away in the galaxy's inner region.

Ground-based observatories detected infrared and radio emissions, but thick clouds of obscuring dust have prevented astronomers from catching Swift J1745-26 in visible light.

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[link to www.nasa.gov]
Rain-Man (OP)

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10/09/2012 06:26 AM
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Re: NASA's Swift Satellite Discovers a New Black Hole in our Galaxy
An X-ray outburst caught by NASA's Swift on Sept. 16, 2012, resulted from a flood of gas plunging toward a previously unknown black hole. Gas flowing from a sun-like star collects into a disk around the black hole. Normally, this gas would steadily spiral inward. But in this system, named Swift J1745-26, the gas collects for decades before suddenly surging inward. Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center


Rain-Man (OP)

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10/09/2012 06:38 AM
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Re: NASA's Swift Satellite Discovers a New Black Hole in our Galaxy
The X-ray source known as Swift J1644+57 -- after its astronomical coordinates in the constellation Draco -- was discovered on March 28, 2011, by NASA's Swift satellite. It was originally assumed to be a more common type of outburst called a gamma-ray burst, but its gradual fade-out matched nothing that had been seen before. Astronomers soon converged on the idea that what they were seeing was the aftermath of a truly extraordinary event -- the awakening of a distant galaxy's dormant black hole as it shredded and gobbled up a passing star. The galaxy is so far away that light from the event had to travel 3.9 billion years before reaching Earth.

[link to www.nasa.gov]
Rain-Man (OP)

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10/09/2012 06:51 AM
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Re: NASA's Swift Satellite Discovers a New Black Hole in our Galaxy
The X-ray source known as Swift J1644+57 -- after its astronomical coordinates in the constellation Draco -- was discovered on March 28, 2011, by NASA's Swift satellite. It was originally assumed to be a more common type of outburst called a gamma-ray burst, but its gradual fade-out matched nothing that had been seen before. Astronomers soon converged on the idea that what they were seeing was the aftermath of a truly extraordinary event -- the awakening of a distant galaxy's dormant black hole as it shredded and gobbled up a passing star. The galaxy is so far away that light from the event had to travel 3.9 billion years before reaching Earth.

[link to www.nasa.gov]
 Quoting: Rain-Man




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