Chandra Image of Variable Sources in NGC 1637
Credit: NASA/CXC/Penn State/S. Immler et al.


Compact objects like neutron stars and black holes are violent creatures. These objects may lie dormant within normal-looking, quiet galaxies. But peering beneath the surface of these galaxies with high energy observations reveals brief intense outbursts of X-ray and gamma-ray radiation. A case in point is a new series of observations made by the Chandra X-ray observatory of the galaxy NGC 1637. These images, taken over a period of 21 months, show pinpoints of X-ray light flashing on and off. Four sample images are shown above. Various X-ray sources appear and disappear, while other sources seem fairly constant. Particularly interesting sources are a supernova which appears near the five o'clock position in the day 4 and 49 images, and a white source near nine o'clock in all images. This source may be a massive black hole produced by the explosion of a massive star.

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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 15:28:21 EDT