Texas Tech University

Unusual ultraluminous X-ray source discovered in the galaxy Messier 86


December 5, 2018

Using data provided by NASA's Chandra spacecraft, astronomers have identified a new unusual ultraluminous X-ray source (ULX) in the elliptical galaxy Messier 86. The newly found ULX, designated M86 tULX-1, resides some 62,000 light years away from the galaxy's center. The finding is reported in a paper published November 26 on arXiv.org.

Located some 52 million light years away in the Virgo Cluster, Messier 86, or M86 (also known as NGC 4406) turns out to be such an elliptical galaxy hosting at least two ULXs. According to a new study conducted by a team of astronomers led by Lennart M. van Haaften of Texas Tech University, archival data from Chandra X-ray Observatory's Advanced CCD Imaging Spectrometer show that M86 contains a ULX located about 62,000 light years northwest of the center of the galaxy. The newly found ULX is therefore the second such source in M86, after CXO J122611.830+125647.80, which was identified in 2011.

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