HomeAstronomyMassive stellar pairs spewing X-rays reveal Milky Way history

Massive stellar pairs spewing X-rays reveal Milky Way history

Massive binary star systems in the galaxy form at the edges of open clusters or the leading edge of a spiral arm, a team of astronomers found. The work provides a window into what the galactic neighborhood looked like in the past, and an explanation for the distribution of such stars. 

Francis Fortin and Sylvain Chaty, both of Paris Cité University, and Frederico Garcia, of the Argentine Institute of Radio Astronomy, used data from the European Space Agency’s Gaia space telescope to track the motions of 26 high-mass X-ray binaries, or HMXBs. HMXBs are the remains of binary star systems in which one star has exploded as a supernova and become a black hole or neutron star. They found that those motions, extrapolated backwards in time, tended to be either at spiral arm edges or near open star clusters. 

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