Dec 14, 2009
The power of a cosmic accelerator brought to light
Microquaser gamma emission observed for the first time

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 power of a cosmic accelerator brought to light

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)

published in the journal Science, on the Science Express website  (26 November 2009)

electronic version (format PDF)

- see: the CEA-CNRS-IN2P3 press release (26 November 2009)
           the NASA press release (26 November 2009)

- 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


#2711 - Last update : 12/14 2009


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