Scientists have discovered two mysterious objects in space that exhibit spectacular bursts of X-rays. They have never seen before.
Possibly this is a new class of explosive events in space. No one knows exactly what we’re dealing with.
These mysterious objects, which are located in two different galaxies resemble ultra-bright X-ray sources (ultraluminous X-ray sources , abbreviated to ULXs), but their unusual behavior does not correspond with known cosmic phenomena.
The odd X-ray sources emerge flames — in less than a minute of time — they get one hundred times brighter, than in an hour the flames tone down to the normal level. This last much longer than that of the known objects.
What causes this behavior is still unclear. One of the possibilities is binary systems, consisting of a normal star and a black hole or a neutron star.
The outbreaks would occur when the star approach the heavy companion, close enough that matter is taken from him.
Totally new phenomenon
“We have never seen anything like it,” says astronomer Jimmy Irwin of the University of Alabama. “Astronomers have seen many different flashing objects, but these are possible examples of a totally new phenomenon.”
One of the X-ray sources are near the 47 million light years distant galaxy NGC 4636. Only one eruption was detected of this object, in February 2003.
The other source is near the system Centaurus A, 14 million light-years away from us. Five eruptions has bee registered between 2007 and 2014.
One of the brightest
“These flare-ups are extraordinary,” said Peter Maksym of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. “A short time became one of the sources, one of the brightest ULXs we’ve ever seen in an elliptical galaxy.”
Astronomers try to find out what exactly is going on, said Gregory Sivakoff of the University of Alberta.