IGR J17091-3624

Artist's impression of the binary system of IGR J17091-3624.

IGR J17091-3624 (also IGR J17091) is a stellar mass black hole 28,000 light years away. It lies in the constellation Scorpius in the Milky Way Galaxy.[1]

Discovery

IGR J17091 was discovered by ESA's INTEGRAL satellite in April 2003.[2]

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Description

IGR J17091 is a stellar mass black hole with a mass between 3-10 $\begin{smallmatrix}M_\odot\end{smallmatrix}$. It is a binary system in which a star orbits the black hole.[3] Its small size makes it a candidate for the smallest black hole discovered and is near the minimum size limit for a black hole to remain stable.[4]

Observations by the Chandra X-ray Observatory in 2011 discovered that it produces the fastest winds ever coming from an accretion disk at 20 million mph (3% of the speed of light). This is 10 times faster than the next highest measured wind speed. According to Ashley King from the University of Michigan "Contrary to the popular perception of black holes pulling in all of the material that gets close, we estimate up to 95 percent of the matter in the disk around IGR J17091 is expelled by the wind."[5]

IGR J17091 also exhibits peculiar X-ray variability patterns or "heartbeats" which are small, quasi-periodic, outbursts repeated over a 5 to 70 second timescale.[6] Similar variability has only been observed in the black hole GRS 1915+105, however, IGR J17091's outbursts are 20 times fainter.[7]

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References

1. ^ Ashley King, et al. (February 21, 2012). "IGR J17091: Chandra Finds Fastest Winds". NASA/Harvard. Retrieved September 27, 2012.
2. ^ Erik Kuulkers (April 19, 2003). "IGR J17091-3624". astronomerstelegram.org. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
3. ^ Ashley King, et al. (February 21, 2012). "Chandra Finds Fastest Winds from Stellar Black Hole". NASA. Retrieved September 27, 2012.
4. ^ Charles Q. Choi (August 24, 2012). "Strangest Black Holes in the Universe, pg 9". "Space.com". Retrieved September 27, 2012.
5. ^ Ashley King, et al. (February 21, 2012). "Chandra Finds Fastest Winds from Stellar Black Hole". NASA. Retrieved September 27, 2012.
6. ^ Rao, Anjali; Vadawale, S. V. (12). Why is IGR J17091–3624 so faint? (PDF). p. 1. arXiv:[astro-ph.HE arXiv:1209.2506 [astro-ph.HE]]. Retrieved September 27, 2012.
7. ^ Rao, Anjali; Vadawale, S. V. (12). Why is IGR J17091–3624 so faint? (PDF). p. 2. arXiv:[astro-ph.HE arXiv:1209.2506 [astro-ph.HE]]. Retrieved September 27, 2012.
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