Sic Transit Gloria MAXI
The International Space Station is not only a high-altitude microgravity laboratory, but also a high altitude observatory. One instrument making good use of the ISS is the Japanese Monitor of All Sky X-ray Image (MAXI) experiment. MAXI sits on the Japanese Experiment Module Exposed Facility, a large platform open to the vacuum of space and an ideal staging area for a high energy detector like MAXI. MAXI scans the entire sky from the ISS, tirelessly looking for changes in brightness of X-ray sources. The image above shows a new transient X-ray nova called MAXI J1409-619. This nova brightened enormously in X-rays between October 12 and 17. Swift follow-up observations by NASA's Swift observatory were able to zero in on the source and identify it as either a neutron star with a very massive companion star, or a black hole binary system.
Published: October 25, 2010
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Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified Sunday, 31-Oct-2010 20:12:31 EDT