October 12, 2012

Simulation of Binary Star System

The Cygnus OB2 #9 binary system consists of two nearly equal-mass O stars that follow an eccentric orbit around their common centre of gravity.

Observations with ESA’s XMM-Newton and NASA’s Swift observatories showed a quadrupling of X-ray flux around the time of periastron (June/July 2011) – when the stars were close together in their orbits. This has provided the first concrete evidence that a wind-wind collision is taking place in this system.

Previous observations with XMM-Newton had hinted at the presence of colliding stellar winds but those observations were carried out when the two stars were far from each other.

credit:  ESA

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