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Hot Plasma and Black Hole Binaries in Starburst Galaxy M82

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Science  17 Nov 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5495, pp. 1325-1328
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5495.1325

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Abstract

High-resolution x-ray observations of the prototype starburst galaxy Messier 82 (M82) obtained with the advanced CCD (charge-coupled device) imaging spectrometer on board the Chandra X-ray Observatory provide a detailed view of hot plasma and energetic processes. Plasma with temperature of about 40,000,000 kelvin fills the inner 1 kiloparsec, which is much hotter than the 1,000,000 to 2,000,000 kelvin interstellar medium component in the Milky Way Galaxy. Produced by many supernova explosions, this central region is overpressurized and drives M82's prominent galactic wind into the intergalactic medium. We also resolved about 20 compact x-ray sources, many of which could be high-mass x-ray binary star systems containing black holes.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: griffith{at}astro.phys.cmu.edu

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