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Neutron Stars/X-ray Binaries
X-ray Astronomy Field Guide
Neutron Stars/X-ray Binaries
Questions and Answers
Neutron Stars/X-ray Binaries
Chandra Images
Neutron Stars/X-ray Binaries
Animations & Video: Neutron Stars/X-ray Binaries
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Click for high-resolution animation
1. Tour of Crab Nebula
QuicktimeMPEG In 1054 A.D., a star's death in the constellation Taurus was observed on Earth. Now, almost a thousand years later, a superdense neutron star left behind by the explosion is spewing out a blizzard of extremely high-energy particles into the expanding debris field known as the Crab Nebula. This image combines data from Hubble, Spitzer and Chandra telescopes. The size of the X-ray image is smaller than the others because ultrahigh-energy X-ray emitting electrons radiate away their energy more quickly than the lower-energy electrons emitting optical and infrared light. By studying the Crab Nebula, astronomers hope to unlock the secrets of how similar objects across the universe are powered.
[Runtime: 0:43]
(X-ray: NASA/CXC/ASU/J.Hester et al.; Optical: NASA/ESA/ASU/J.Hester & A.Loll; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. Minn./R.Gehrz)

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2. Zoom into Chandra's Image of the Mouse
QuicktimeMPEG This sequence begins with a wide-field radio image of the Mouse, the shape of which gives the system its name. The view then moves closer to reveal a composite of both Chandra's X-ray data as well as radio data from the Very Large Array. Finally, the radio emission dissolves away, leaving Chandra's observations of the Mouse. The Chandra view starts with its broadband image, before switching to a 3-color X-ray image where red, green and blue represent increasing energy ranges.
[Runtime: 0:17]
(X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/B.Gaensler et al.; Radio: NRAO/AUI/NSF)

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3. Zoom to 47 Tucanae
QuicktimeMPEG This animation zooms from ground-based optical views around the southern constellation of Tucana, to an ESO/Danish 1.54-m optical image of the globular cluster 47 Tucanae, and finally rests on the X-ray image of the cluster's core taken with Chandra.
[Runtime: 0:34]
(round-based Optical: T.Dickinson; Anglo-Australian Obs. Photo: D.Malin; ESO/Danish 1.54-m: W.Keel et al.; Chandra: NASA/CXC/CfA/J.Grindlay & C.Heinke)

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4. Animation of White Dwarf Gravitational Wave Merger
QuicktimeMPEG This artist concept depicts two white dwarfs called RX J0806.3+1527 or J0806, swirling closer together, traveling in excess of a million miles per hour. As their orbit gets smaller and smaller, leading up to a merger, the system should release more and more energy in gravitational waves. This particular pair might have the smallest orbit of any known binary system. They complete an orbit in 321.5 seconds - barely more than five minutes.
[Runtime: 0:40]
View Stills
(NASA/GSFC/D.Berry)

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Click for high-resolution animation
5. Colliding Binary Neutron Stars
QuicktimeMPEG Gamma-ray bursts are common, yet random, and fleeting events that have mystified astronomers since their discovery in the late 1960s. Many scientists say longer bursts (more than four seconds in duration) are caused by massive star explosions; shorter bursts (less than two seconds in duration) are caused by mergers of binary systems with black holes or neutron stars. This animation portrays one possible scenario that could produce the shorter bursts. While uncertainty remains, most scientists say in either scenario a new black hole is born.
[Runtime: 0:23]
(NASA/D.Berry)

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Click for high-resolution animation
6. Dissolve from Optical to X-ray Image of Westerlund 1
QuicktimeMPEG This sequence begins with an optical view of the star cluster, known as Westerlund 1. When the view dissolves into Chandra's X-ray image, the unusual neutron star -- a dense whirling ball of neutrons about 12 miles in diameter -- appears very brightly.
[Runtime: 0:08]
(Optical: ESO/WFI/2.2-m MPG; X-ray: NASA/CXC/UCLA/M.Muno et al.)

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Click for high-resolution animation
7. Time-lapse Movie of Galactic Center X-ray Binaries
QuicktimeMPEG This sequence 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 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.
[Runtime: 1:02]
(NASA/CXC/UCLA/M.Muno et al.)

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Click for high-resolution animation
8. Sequence Showing Evidence of Black Hole Swarm in Context
QuicktimeMPEG The first image in this sequence is Chandra's 900- by 400-light year mosaic of the Milky Way's center. Next, the view zooms into a smaller region where Chandra has found some 2,000 individual X-ray sources. Finally, Chandra's view of the area immediately surrounding Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), the Milky Way's supermassive black hole, is shown. As part of a long-term monitoring program, Chandra found several variable X-ray sources. This variability suggests these sources are in systems containing their own stellar-sized black holes.
[Runtime: 1:02]
(Galactic Center Mosaic: NASA/UMass/D.Wang et al.; Sagittarius A*: NASA/CXC/MIT/F.K.Baganoff et al.; Galactic Center X-ray Binaries: NASA/CXC/UCLA/M.Muno et al.)

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9. Black Hole Devours a Neutron Star
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Scientists say they have seen tantalizing, first-time evidence of a black hole eating a neutron star-first stretching the neutron star into a crescent, swallowing it, and then gulping up crumbs of the broken star in the minutes and hours that followed.
[Runtime: 0:28]
(NASA/D.Berry)

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10. Comparison of 3C58 and the Crab Nebula
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In this series of X-ray images, the strong similarities between the center of 3C58 and the Crab Nebula pulsar -- one of the most famous objects in astronomy -- are shown. The 3C58 pulsar, the Crab Nebula pulsar, and a growing list of other pulsars offer dramatic proof that strong electromagnetic fields around rapidly rotating neutron stars are powerful generators of both high-energy particles and magnetic fields.
[Runtime: 0:22]
(3C58: NASA/CXC/SAO/P.Slane et al.; Crab: NASA/CXC/ASU/J.Hester et al.)

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