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The Micro Quasar XTE J 1550-564 plays ping-pong Cocorico !

On April 30th, 2003 the NASA publishes, in the site of Chandra, a page dedicated to the micro quasar XTE J1550-564.

The comment which accompanies it is of the highest interest.
A series of Chandra images has allowed scientists to trace the evolution of large-scale X-ray jets produced by a black hole in a binary star system. As the schematic shows, gaseous matter pulled from a normal star forms a disk around the black hole. The gas is heated to temperatures of millions of degrees, and intense electromagnetic forces in the disk can expel jets of high-energy particles.
An outburst of X-rays from the source, XTE J1550-564, was detected by NASA's Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) in 1998. Further observations with Chandra and radio telescopes detected first one jet (left), then another opposing jet (right) of high-energy particles moving away from the black hole at about half the speed of light. Four years after the outburst, the jets had moved more than 3 light years apart with the left jet slowing down and disappearing.
The observations indicate that the jet on the left is moving along a line tilted toward Earth, whereas the jet on the right is tilted away from Earth. This alignment explains why the left jet appears to have traveled farther from the black hole than the jet on the right, and why the left jet faded first. However, with this alignment, the relative brightness of the right jet is difficult to understand because it is receding, and should be dimmer than it appears. One explanation is that it is plowing into a dense cloud of gas. The resistance of the gas would slow down the jet, and produce a shock wave that could energize the electrons in the jet, causing it to brighten. The observed cometary shape of the right jet indicates that it is in fact interacting with interstellar gas.
The ejection of jets from stellar black holes and supermassive black holes is a common occurrence in the universe, and appears to be one of the primary ways that black holes inject energy into their environment. Although all jets are assumed to decelerate because of the resistance of the gas through which they move, the process can take millions of years for jets from supermassive black holes.
The XTE J1550 jets are the first ones caught in the act of slowing down. During the past four years astronomers have observed a process that would take as much as a million years to unfold for a supermassive black hole jet. This underscores the enormous value of studying black holes in our galaxy such as XTE J1550.

Let us examine this phenomenon closer.


Micro-quasar XTE J 1550-564 (Source: Chandra)

The observation shows that the phenomenon took place in three main stages:

  1. Supernova (?) in the center, on September 22nd, 1998.

  2. Shock to the left of an invisible jet, on June 9th, 2000.

  3. Shock to the right of an invisible jet, on March 11th, 2002.

Total time : 42 months.



The observations made with Chandra are with difficulty compatible with the theory of the axi-polar jets such as it is proposed by the theorists (See opposite). Certain problems, the luminosity of the right jet in particular, are clearly expressed in the site of Chandra. This luminosity is incompatible with the speed (0,5c) and the supposed orientation of the jet.
Indeed this jet is the second to appear. Thus it is supposed to go away from us. Now, considering the laws of the physics, it should be the least brilliant...



Source: B. Lempel

The explanation supplied by the NASA ( Chandra) is certainly a possible explanation. But it remains very hypothetical. It would be necessary to suppose that the micro quasar (Black Hole?) eject symmetrically two jets of plasma in the absolute vacuum. This plasma would meet, at uneven distances, some gas with relatively high density which it would ionize. The temporal gap owed at the speed of light would then be connected to the angular value of the axis of propagation of the system of jets, and in time crossed through by the light to reach us. (Animation opposite).
But then...



  1. Why did the left jet become blurred before the appearance of the right jet?

  2. Why is not a spatiotemporal symmetry of the jets respected?

  3. Nothing allows to exclude that soon of time, the right jet, in his turn, subdue and disappears, what would impose to question the implicit theory of the continuous jets.


The Crab Pulsar


There is another hypothesis, a little bit sulphurous, but so logical, based on examples obtained after images processing and on observations:

  1. The Crab Pulsar.

  2. The Core of M 87.

  3. The Solar Wind and the Earth.

The "micro quasar" would be in fact a dual objects system, each object in rotation around the other one, on very elliptic orbits, or rather around their common centre of gravity. Their trajectories, very naturally, would bring them periodically to occupy two symmetrical positions closer one of the other one. It would be in these particular positions that the jets would spring, in the orbital plan of both stars, and not in the polar axis of the quasar. The explanation of the emergence of the jets is to be found in phenomena of Magneto Hydro Dynamics. Particles (stellar Wind) ejected from one of the stars, would be focused and accelerated towards the second star. They would by-pass the magnétosphère and would be thrown out beyond as a jet. (The model is that of the solar wind in interaction with the Earth magnétosphère).
Thus the period of revolution of both objects incriminated in XTE J on 1550 would be bigger than twice 42 months, thus bigger than 7 ground years.

Conclusions :

  1. If orbits are really more or less elongated ellipses, then we can expect that the observed sequence is periodically renewed, but with a rather long intermediate break.

  2. And if orbits were hyperbolas (ejection of an companion object) then the observed sequence will never be renewed.

  3. If later observations had to confirm these predictions, then...

  4. Then it is made. The confirmation came from ESA.

The Core of M 87


Solar Wind and Earth


Alternated Periodic jets


Documents to be consulted:

Some documents from HEXTE Publications.

  1. AAJ - 563:229 » 238, 2001 Dec 10 -  X-RAY observations of XTE J1550 564 during the decay of the 2000 Outburst. I. CHANDRA and RXTE Energy Spectra. - J.A. Tomsick, S. Corbel and P. Kaaret.

  2. arXiv:astro-ph/0105115 v1 7 May 2001- Multiwavelength Observations of the Black Hole Candidate XTE J1550-564 during the 2000 Outburst. Raj K. Jain et al.

  3. A.J, 554:43»48, 2001 June 10 - X-Ray States and Radio  Emission in the Black Hole Candidate XTE J1550-564. S. Corbel et al.

Other documents:

  1. Jets et Systèmes binaires - Bernardd Lempel. L'Astronomiee Vol 117-Sept 2003. SAF. (PDF=1,6 Mo)

  2. Le pulsar du Crabe, Faits et Contradictionss.

  3. "Deep impact" of pulsar around companion star (ESA - 28 February 2006)

  4. TeV gamma rays from the Binary Pulsar PSR B1259-63 (Avril 2005)

  5. The Spin of the Black Hole Microquasar XTE J1550-564 via the Continuum-Fitting and Fe-Line Methods

  6. Modeling the Jet Kinematics of the Black Hole Microquasar XTE J1550-564: A Constraint on Spin-Orbit Alignment

  7. Astronomy Picture of the Day -The X-Ray Jets of XTE J1550

  8. Chandra Image of XTE J1550-564 (June 2002)

  9. XTE J1550-564 Chandra Tracks Evolution Of X-Ray Jets

  10. Microquasar XTE J1550-564 - X Ray Novae and Microquasars

  11. De puissants jets de matière relativiste autour d'un trou noir de notre Galaxie - Systèmes binaires X et microquasars

  12. Cannibal stars like their foodhot, XMM-Newtonn reveals (ESA March 2006))

Last Release 05/19/16

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