X-ray emission from massive stars

Harvard-Smithsonian Center For Astrophysics

A composite image of the massive star forming region Cygnus OB2. The image shows X-ray emission from Chandra (blue), infrared from Spitzer (red), and optical data from the Isaac Newton Telescope (orange). Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/J.Drake et al, Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech, Optical: Univ. This relatively large sample enabled the scientist to test their models by examining, for example, whether or not there are clear correlations between a star’s X-ray strength and its luminosity. The astronomers find for their massive stars that there is a well-defined correlation between the X-ray and total stellar luminosity, with the X-ray strength being about sixteen million times less; indeed, their relation is similar to one previously reported for another massive star-forming region, and favors the first (radiatively driven) kind of shocks.

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