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NICER Detects Echoes from Eight Black Hole X-Ray Binaries

Dragon
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Post by Dragon Sun May 08, 2022 3:40 am

As a stellar-mass black hole pulls in gas and dust from an orbiting star, it can give off spectacular bursts of X-rays that bounce and echo off the inspiraling gas, briefly illuminating a black hole’s extreme surroundings.

In new research, astrophysicists from the MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research and elsewhere have used an automated search tool — which they’ve coined the ‘Reverberation Machine’ — to comb through the data from NASA’s Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER), a high-time-resolution X-ray telescope aboard the International Space Station, for signs of black hole echoes.

As a result, they’ve discovered eight new echoing black hole binaries in our Milky Way Galaxy. Previously, only two such systems in the Milky Way were known to emit X-ray echoes.


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NICER Detects Echoes from Eight Black Hole X-Ray Binaries 334pu7m
Dragon
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Post by Dragon Sun May 08, 2022 3:41 am

NICER Detects Echoes from Eight Black Hole X-Ray Binaries Image_10764-X-Ray-Binary
. Image credit: Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias

An artist’s impression of a black hole X-ray binary.


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NICER Detects Echoes from Eight Black Hole X-Ray Binaries 334pu7m
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Post by Dragon Sun May 08, 2022 3:42 am



NASA's Black Hole Orrery

Learn more about the best-known black hole systems in our galaxy and its neighbor, the Large Magellanic Cloud.

This visualization presents 22 X-ray binary systems that host confirmed black holes at the same scale, with their orbits sped up by about 22,000 times.


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NICER Detects Echoes from Eight Black Hole X-Ray Binaries 334pu7m

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