Black Hole X-Ray Binaries Discovered in the Merging Antennae Galaxies

Antennae
Credit: NASA/ESA

We discovered a population of black hole X-ray binaries (XRBs) in the merging Antennae galaxies. We have developed a new methodology (utilizing X-ray and optical data plus N-body simulations) to study the nature of XRBs in nearby galaxies. You can read the full paper here or read the abstract below.

We compare the locations of 82 XRBs detected in the merging Antennae galaxies by Zezas et al., based on observations taken with the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, with a catalog of optically selected star clusters presented by Whitmore et al., based on observations taken with the Hubble Space Telescope.

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Transit of Venus 2012

Venus TransitThe transit of Venus in front of the solar disk is one of the most infrequent astronomical events. Although the last one was in 2004, the one before that was in 1882! If you’re planning to catch the next one I’ll have to disappoint you. This rare alignment of the Sun, Venus and Earth will not happen again until 2117. Seeing the transit of Venus is one in a lifetime opportunity (though I happened to see it twice ūüėČ ), and naturally gathered the attention of many people.

Here at the University of Toledo the visitors safely observed the event as our Heliostat solar telescope projected a large image of the Sun on a screen. Another opportunity to see the transit provided the small instruments on the lawn before the Sun set behind the buildings.

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X-ray Binaries and Star Clusters

ngc4449The starburst galaxy NGC 4449 is the ideal place to study the connection between high mass X-ray binaries (HMXBs) and star clusters. We not only show that HMXBs form in clusters, but show how we can gain more insight into these extreme objects by studying their parent clusters. Our comprehensive study is published in the Astrophysical Journal. You can read the full paper here, or read the abstract below.

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