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More Images of GRS 1915+105
1
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Images of GRS 1915+105
Researchers monitored GRS 1915+105, a system containing a black hole about 14 times the Sun's mass in orbit with a companion star, with Chandra and RXTE for over eight hours and saw that it pulses in X-ray light every 50 seconds. This type of rhythmic cycle resembles an electrocardiogram of a human heart, though at a slower pace. The close-up image shows a Chandra image of the system. The full-field image shows the crowded field containing GRS 1915+105 in optical light from the Digital Sky Survey.
(Credit: X-ray (NASA/CXC/Harvard/J.Neilsen et al); Optical (Palomar DSS2))
2
GRS 1915+105 Lightcurve
This light curve shows the remarkable "heartbeats" seen in the X-ray light from this system. Using Chandra and the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE), astronomers have discovered what drives these heartbeats and given new insight into the ways that black holes can regulate their intake and severely curtail their growth.
(Credit: X-ray (NASA/CXC/Harvard/J.Neilsen et al); Optical (Palomar DSS2))
3
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Illustrations: The Cause of the "Heartbeat" Variation
This sequence of four illustrations shows the black hole in GRS 1915 and the inner part of the disk surrounding it. The first three illustrations show material in the inner disk being pushed away from the black hole by radiation pressure. The disk gets increasingly brighter and hotter in these three illustrations until it disintegrates, as shown in the fourth illustration. The inner part of the disk then refills from material farther away from the black hole and the cycle begins again.
(Credit: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss)
4
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Illustrations: The Variation in GRS 1915's Wind
This pair of illustrations shows the effect of the heartbeat variation on regions of GRS 1915's disk very far from the black hole, at distances of about 100,000 to a million times the radius of the event horizon. The wind is weakest when the X-rays are in the faintest part of the heartbeat cycle and strongest when the X-rays are in the brightest part of the cycle. The massive companion star feeding material to the disk is also shown.
(Credit: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss)


GRS 1915+105 (January 12, 2011)