For the first time, the high-energy gamma rays emitted by a microquasar have been spotted with certainty, thanks to NASA's Fermi telescope. The observation of the microquasar Cygnus X-3 by a French team (CEA-IRFU, CNRS-INSU and IN2P3, University of Paris Diderot, Joseph Fourier University) teaches us more about how these particular sources function and how a compact object orbiting a star can hurl a mass equivalent to the Moon's through the interstellar medium at almost the speed of light. The study is published in Science Express on 26 November 2009.
- for more information : see the French version
Vision d'artiste de l'orbite du microquasar Cygnus X-3. Un disque de matière entoure l'objet compact d'où sort un jet. L'émission gamma (représentée en violet) varie le long de l'orbite et est maximale lorsque le disque est situé derrière l'étoile compagnon. Credit: Walt Feimer, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
The source Cygnus X-3 détected by the LAT telescope (Large Area Telescope) onboard the Fermi satellite in the energy range 200Mev - 100GeV. The position of Cygnus X-3 is indicated by a circle. Credits: NASA/DOE/Fermi LAT Collaboration
"Modulated High-Energy γ-ray emission from the Microquasar Cygnus X-3"
Fermi LAT Collaboration
including CEA/IRFU/Service d'Astrophysique and AIM (CEA/CNRS/Université Paris Diderot)
electronic version (format PDF)
- also see: Alert signal given before matter is ejected from a black hole (21 December 2007, in French)
A microquasar's journey through the galaxy (23 January 2003, in French)
The first extra-galactic microquasar? (23 January 2003, in French)
X-ray image of jets of matter around a black hole (4 October 2002, in French)
Microquasars (special report, in French)
Written by: Jean-Marc Bonnet-Bidaud, S. Corbel, M. Vandermersch