NASA uses X-ray echoes to determine location of distant neutron star, namely Circinius X-1, whose presence was first accounted for in 2013. In the same year, astronomers at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration experienced an unusual formation of clouds of interstellar dust that enabled them to spot Circinius X-1.
Experts at NASA might have figured out a new method to determine the exact location of certain stars and the distance between them and the Earth. The idea of the new measuring method first came to their minds in 2013, when scientists first experienced space X-ray echoes.
NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory was able to spot back then a cluster of unusual rings that were formed in the vicinity of the Circinius X-1, including the neutron star itself. Astronomers have concluded with the help of the respective data that the star is a relic of a larger star that most likely died after an impressive Super Nova.
Unfortunately they were not able to determine the exact location of the star as the means of investigation did not allow them to do so. For the recent study, they have used the X-ray echoes produced and diffused by the Chandra X-Ray Observatory.
They were, thus, able to calculate that the neutron star is at 30, 700 light years away from the Earth. The distance has been calculated by carefully observing the X-ray that arrive from Circinius X-1 on the Earth.
These X-ray fall from different angles, which means they have different time delays. NASA’s system has registered all these time delays during a given period and has used them to estimate the exact distance from Earth to Circinius X-1.
There were many other findings that researchers have reached through the recent NASA study. According to them, the celestial body has a special behavior because it can sometimes take the same properties as a neutron star, whereas, other times it acts like a regular black hole.
Scientists will spend the following months carefully studying the evolution and the behavior of the planet as they want to get a better understanding of it.
The X-ray echo-based system that scientists at NASA have used for the current study is an innovation. Researchers, however, have nicknamed it the “Lord of the Rings” because it relies mostly on the study of the cloud rings that are formed in the vicinity of Circinus X-1.
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