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More Images of Galactic Center X-ray Binaries
1
Combined Chandra X-ray Image of
Galactic Center X-ray Binaries

In this Chandra image, four bright, variable X-ray sources were discovered within 3 light years of Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*). The variability suggests these are X-ray binary systems where a black hole or neutron star is pulling matter from a nearby companion star. Such a high concentration of X-ray binaries in this region is strong circumstantial evidence that a dense swarm of 10,000 or more stellar-mass black holes and neutron stars has formed around Sgr A*.
Scale: Image is 1 arcmin per side
(Credit: NASA/CXC/UCLA/M.Muno et al.)

2
Click for larger image Sept 9, 1999
Jpeg, Tiff, PS
Click for larger image Oct 10, 2000
Jpeg, Tiff, PS
Click for larger image May 22, 2002
Jpeg, Tiff, PS
Click for larger image June 19, 2003
Jpeg, Tiff, PS
Click for larger image July 07, 2004
Jpeg, Tiff, PS
Individual Chandra Images of Galactic Center X-ray Binaries
This series of 5 images is part of an ongoing Chandra program that monitors a region around the Milky Way's supermassive black hole, Sgr A*. Four bright, variable X-ray sources were discovered within 3 light years of Sgr A*. The variability (see time-lapse movie) is indicative of an X-ray binary system where a black hole or neutron star is pulling matter from a nearby companion star. Such a high concentration of X-ray binaries in this region is strong circumstantial evidence that a dense swarm of 10,000 or more stellar-mass black holes and neutron stars has formed around Sgr A*. The swarm likely formed as stellar-mass black holes, and to a lesser extent, neutron stars, gradually sank toward the center of the Galaxy over the course of several billion years.
Scale: Each image is 1 arcmin per side
(Credit: NASA/CXC/UCLA/M.Muno et al.)

3
Galactic Center X-ray Binaries in Context
This three-paneled image shows Chandra's latest results from the Galactic Center (bottom right) in context of previously released images. The top panel is a portion of Chandra's 900- by 400-light year mosaic of the Milky Way's center including its supermassive black hole, known as Sgr A*. The box marked "(A)" of the mosaic outlines a smaller region shown in the lower left panel, where about 2,000 individual X-ray sources are detected. The final panel "(B)" shows four sources within a mere three light years of Sgr * A that Chandra observed to be variable. These data suggest that they are binary systems possibly containing their own black holes. Such a high concentration of X-ray binaries in this region is circumstantial evidence that a dense swarm of 10,000 black holes and neutron stars has formed around Sgr A*.
(Credit: Top: NASA/UMass/D.Wang et al.
Bottom Left: NASA/CXC/MIT/F.K.Baganoff et al.
Bottom Right: NASA/CXC/UCLA/M.Muno et al.)

4
Chandra X-ray Image with Scale Bar
Scalebar = .25 arcmin
(Credit: NASA/CXC/UCLA/M.Muno et al.)


Return to Galactic Center X-ray Binaries (10 Jan 05)