A Spatially Resolved X-ray Image of a Star Like the Sun

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Science  08 Oct 1993:
Vol. 262, Issue 5131, pp. 215-218
DOI: 10.1126/science.262.5131.215


Observations made with the x-ray satellite ROSAT (Roentgen Satellite) have produced the first spatially resolved x-ray image of a corona around a star like our sun. The star is the secondary in the eclipsing binary system α Coronae Borealis (CrB), which consists of one star of spectral type A0V and one of type G5V. The x-ray light curve of α CrB shows a total x-ray eclipse during secondary optical minimum, with the G star behind the A star. The totality of the eclipse demonstrates that the A-type component in α CrB is x-ray dark and that the x-ray flux arises exclusively from the later-type companion. The x-ray eclipse ingress and egress are highly asymmetric compared with the optical eclipse, indicating a highly asymmetric x-ray intensity distribution on the surface of the G star. From a detailed modeling of the ingress and egress of the x-ray light curve, an eclipse map of the G star was constructed by a method based on an optimization by simulated annealing.