Chandra/optical composite of DEM L316R
Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/U.Illinois/R.Williams & Y.-H.Chu; Optical: NOAO/CTIO/U.Illinois/R.Williams & MCELS coll.


This is what the scene of the crime looks like. The apparent collision may simply be an illusion - don't be fooled. But what we've got here are two dead stars, but no bodies - at least none we've found. But by comparing an optical image (shown in purple) with a Chandra X-ray image (in green and red), forensic astronomers found clues to the identities of the corpses. The lower one had an iron deficiency - probably an overweight star who never ate right and died too young. In contrast the one on the upper left had plenty of iron - probably a lightweight who would've lived to a ripe old age if not for a treacherous neighbor. Motives are hard to discern, but when you live in a violent place like the LMC, who needs a motive?

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Each week the HEASARC brings you new, exciting and beautiful images from X-ray and Gamma ray astronomy. Check back each week and be sure to check out the HEAPOW archive!

Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified Friday, 20-Apr-2012 15:24:07 EDT