M31: XMM and Chandra investigate central region


[Chandra X-ray Image of Andromeda Galaxy (M31)]

Central part of M31 in X-rays


[Combined X-ray and optical image of M31]

M31 central part, combined X-ray and optical image

Credit: NASA/CXC/MPE/W.Pietsch et.al.

In X-rays, hot gas is seen to envelop the central part of the Andromeda Galaxy, M31. The prominent point sources mostly belong to interacting double stars, many of them containing a White Dwarf companion pulling away matter from its partner star. When the matter gets compressed and heated, a thermonuclear explosion occurs near the White Dwarfs surface; this explosion is bright in X-rays and makes the star flash up as a nova.

Chandra Press Release (May 22, 2007):
http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2007/m31/

ESA XMM Newton Press Release (May 9, 2007):
http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEM0C2V681F_index_0.html

Publication:
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2007A&A…465..375P

SEDS M31 page:
http://www.seds.org/messier/m/m031.html

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