View Full Version : Our x-ray galaxy

2006-Feb-27, 05:43 PM
New Milky Way map reveals millions of unseen objects (http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n0602/23milkyway/)

Nearly 400 years after Galileo determined the wispy Milky Way actually comprises myriad individual stars, scientists using NASA's Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer have done the same for the "X-ray Milky Way."

The origin of this X-ray counterpart to the Milky Way, known to scientists as the galactic X-ray background, has been a long-standing mystery. Scientists have determined the background is not diffuse, as many have thought. Rather, it emanates from untold hundreds of millions of individual sources dominated by a type of dead star called a white dwarf, along with stars with unusually strong coronas.

If confirmed, this new finding would have a profound impact on our understanding of the history of our galaxy, from star-formation and supernova rates to stellar evolution. The result solves major theoretical problems yet points to a surprising undercounting of stellar objects, perhaps by a hundredfold.

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2006-Mar-02, 09:08 AM
very good article