Scientists have observed that a powerful, hot wind was sent across the universe by a neutron star devouring its neighbor.
The discovery could help us learn more about some of the most extreme objects in the universe, say scientists who have observed it.
The hot wind emerged from a low-mass X-ray binary, or LMXB, which is a system that includes a neutron star or black hole. They get their fuel by stripping material from a nearby star, devouring it in a process known as accretion.
Usually when this happens the systems become much brighter, in a way that can be observed by scientists.
They also throw materials into space, propelling them with the force of the winds. But so far, scientists have only seen “hot” gas – the new study is the first time they’ve seen both “hot” and “cold” gas from such a system.
This was possible because scientists were waiting and preparing for such an eruption. The opportunity to watch the event using an array of the most powerful telescopes available on Earth and in space presented itself when the system called Swift J1858 was found and performed as a candidate. rare.
“Eruptions like this are rare and each one is unique,” said Noel Castro Segura of the University of Southampton, lead author of the study. “Normally, they are heavily obscured by interstellar dust, which makes observing them very difficult.
“Swift J1858 was special because even though it is located on the far side of our galaxy, the obscuration was small enough to allow full study at multiple wavelengths.”