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Image courtesy of J. M. Miller, M. van der Klis and ESA.
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About this Image
Ultra-luminous X-ray (ULX) sources are bright, point-like X-ray sources, distinct from galactic nuclei, in nearby normal galaxies. Some ULXs may be stellar-mass (up to 10 solar masses) black holes, with their radiation focused toward our line of sight; others may belong sought-after intermediate-mass (100-100,000 solar masses) black holes.
An XMM-Newton observation of the nearby spiral galaxy NGC 1313 reveals cool thermal emission from the accretion disks (disks of matter swirling into the black holes) surrounding the two ULXs in this galaxy. The disk temperatures are significantly lower than expected if these ULX sources are standard stellar-mass black holes, and suggest that they are 100-1000 solar mass objects.
Investigator(s): J. M. Miller, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
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