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Why is this topic of importance to XMM? - cont'd

     Magnetic fields permeate the Universe and because they act as the midwife for photons, by looking at such photons we can explore the Universe. XMM can detect these photons. Such magnetic fields exist on the (relatively) very small scale such as those associated with compact objects such as neutron stars;

Neutron star binary

IMAGE - A neutron star binary - courtesy of ESA.

The white star is a neutron star and is feeding on the giant. When matter hits the surface of the neutron star, x-rays are formed.

     On the small scale as in the chromospheres and coronae of stars;

The Sun's Corona - taken by the LASCO Imager, SOHO satellite

IMAGE - The Sun's Corona - courtesy of ESA.

This image was taken by the LASCO Imager onboard the SOHO satellite - of which the University of Birmingham played a major role in development and construction.

     On the larger scale in supernovae and their remnants.


IMAGE - SN1987a - courtesy of NASA.

This supernova occured millions of years ago but the light reached Earth in 1987. This is a fairly recent picture and shows quite clearly the shock wave from the explosion as it moves through the ISM (interstallar medium) ionising the gas as it travels. The gas re-radiates light which we see on Earth.

     And on the very large scale associated with galaxies.

Spiral galaxy

IMAGE - A spiral galaxy - courtesy of ESA.

The University of Birmingham 

Physics and Astronomy Department, The University of Birmingham