Stellar X-ray vision

An international team of scientists has used light emitted by two stars orbiting each other to determine their identities and configuration, according to a study published in The Astrophysical Journal.

The majority of light we observe in the night sky is emitted from multiple star systems, where two or more stars orbit each other. By observing the X-rays emitted from these orbiting stars, scientists are able estimate their masses and determine how they formed.

A team of physicists from South Africa and Russia, including researchers from the University of Cape Town, used the Southern African Large Telescope to measure the energy range of X-rays emitted by a two-star system, or binary star, and have determined that one of the stars is either a neutron star or black hole.

The work provides new insights into the formation of binary stars.

This article was first published by Springer Nature. Read the original article here.