X-ray binary star system Current Affairs

Scientists for first time saw eclipses of binary star shed light on orbiting exoplanet

A team of scientists from Raman Research Institute, Bengaluru and University of Delhi for the first time have seen indications of a massive planet orbiting a low mass X-ray binary star system.

The system MXB 1658-298 is an X-ray binary and a part of the constellation Ophiuchus (serpent bearer). It is nearly 30,000 light years away and the planet is expected to be nearly 8,000 times as massive as the earth. 

Key Facts
  • X-ray binaries consist of a pair of stars orbiting each other of which one is compact one such as a black hole or a neutron star.
  • In this case it is a neutron star which draws matter from its less-massive companion and generates X-rays which are detected by detectors placed in satellites in space.
  • This discovery is made with a new technique, X-Ray observation by measuring periodic delays in X-ray eclipses. It is a new technique of detecting exoplanets and observations are done from space observatories.
  • In X-ray binaries, the time in-between eclipses of the source can increase, decrease and also shows abrupt changes. But in MXB 1658-298, time between the eclipses increases and decreases periodically.

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