Galactic X-ray background source is found

February 23, 2006

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Germany say they've found the origin of galactic background emissions -- white dwarf stars.

The origin of the so-called galactic X-ray background has been a long-standing mystery. But the Max Planck scientists say they've discovered the blanket of X-ray light is not diffuse, as many have thought, but emanates from hundreds of millions of individual sources that are dominated by a type of dead star called a white dwarf.

If confirmed, the finding would have a profound impact on understanding of the history of the galaxy, from star formation and supernova rates to stellar evolution. The results also will solve major theoretical problems, yet point to a surprising undercounting of stellar objects, the scientists said.

The discovery is discussed by the Max Planck researchers and by scientists from the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow in two papers published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Microscopic messengers from the depths of space

Related Stories

Microscopic messengers from the depths of space

October 29, 2015

(—In 1990, an important space probe was launched, tasked with the ambitious mission of orbiting the sun and scanning our star at all latitudes. However, the much-publicized mission was not solar research but the ...

The peanut at the heart of our galaxy

September 12, 2013

Two groups of astronomers have used data from ESO telescopes to make the best three-dimensional map yet of the central parts of the Milky Way. They have found that the inner regions take on a peanut-like, or X-shaped, appearance ...

Recommended for you

'Material universe' yields surprising new particle

November 25, 2015

An international team of researchers has predicted the existence of a new type of particle called the type-II Weyl fermion in metallic materials. When subjected to a magnetic field, the materials containing the particle act ...

New gene map reveals cancer's Achilles heel

November 25, 2015

Scientists have mapped out the genes that keep our cells alive, creating a long-awaited foothold for understanding how our genome works and which genes are crucial in disease like cancer.

CERN collides heavy nuclei at new record high energy

November 25, 2015

The world's most powerful accelerator, the 27 km long Large Hadron Collider (LHC) operating at CERN in Geneva established collisions between lead nuclei, this morning, at the highest energies ever. The LHC has been colliding ...

A blue, neptune-size exoplanet around a red dwarf star

November 25, 2015

A team of astronomers have used the LCOGT network to detect light scattered by tiny particles (called Rayleigh scattering), through the atmosphere of a Neptune-size transiting exoplanet. This suggests a blue sky on this world ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.