Chandra Quasi-Soft Sources
Credit: NASA/CXC/SAO/R.DiStefano et al.

New Soft Lights

The Chandra X-ray Observatory has identified what appears to be a new type of X-ray source in a number of external galaxies. These sources are surprisingly bright but rather cool, at least by X-ray standards - only a few million degrees or less. Scientists think these objects may represent a new kind of black hole with a mass of a few hundred solar masses, which would give the black hole a larger event horizon than "normal", solar-mass type black holes, producing somewhat cooler X-ray emission. Alternatively these sources may be normal black holes or neutron stars with unusually large X-ray emitting regions. Pictured above are Chandra X-ray images of 4 galaxies (M101, M83, M51 and NGC 4697) with the "quasi-soft" sources marked.

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Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified Friday, 20-Apr-2012 15:25:30 EDT