BURSTER — This double-star system, located approximately 28,000 light-years away in the constellation Sagittarius, is a source of powerful bursts of X-ray emission. Argonne physicists have made precise measurements of exotic isotopes that explain the characteristic X-ray spectrum and luminosities of such "X-ray bursters." Illustration courtesy Dana Berry, Space Telescope Science Institute.
Argonne physicists have precisely measured the masses of nuclear isotopes that exist for only fractions of a second or can only be produced in such tiny amounts as to be almost nonexistent in the laboratory. Some isotopes had their masses accurately measured for the first time.
The results help explain the characteristic X-ray spectrum and luminosities of strange astronomical objects called "X-ray bursters."
X-ray bursters comprise a normal star and a neutron star. Neutron stars are as massive as our sun but collapsed to 10 miles across. The neutron star’s ferocious gravitational field pulls gas from its companion until the neutron star’s surface ignites in a runaway fusion reaction. For a few tens of seconds, the light from the explosion may be the most brilliant source of X-rays in the sky.
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Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
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