Cannibalism in space: A star eats its companion
Publication date: 15 November 2006
Authors: C. Winkler et al.
Journal: ESA Bulletin
The work of ESA's INTEGRAL high-energy observatory usually follows a long-term plan that is established every year by selecting only the very best of the numerous observing proposals from the scientific community. However, nature does not always follow the same plan, so INTEGRAL and the people who keep it running have to react to unforeseen and sudden 'Targets of Opportunity'. The case here is neutron star IGR J00291+5934, an incredibly dense object with a mass similar to that of our Sun's compressed into a rapidly spinning sphere only a few kilometres across. Not only that, but it is busy swallowing its stellar companion.Link to publication