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Sco X-1: The Movie

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Frames 1 through 15:
The strength of the radio emission is shown both by the number of contour lines and by the brightness of the underlying intensity. From the start of the observations, the radio emission near the binary system, called the radio core, is increasing in strength. Another radio component, called a lobe, lies about 5 billion miles to the left, and a very faint, almost invisible lobe lies about 2 billions miles to the right. The blue dot shows the location of the binary system, although its true size is one hundred times smaller. The blue lines emanating from the binary system show the conical beams which contain the fast-moving electrons accelerated by the strong magnetic fields within the blue-dot region. These electrons produce no radio emission until they splatter onto the interstellar material billions of miles from Sco X-1 to power the radio emission at the lobes.

Pushed by the momentum of the splattering electrons, the lobes move away from the binary in opposite directions at about 50% of the speed of light. When any object approaches us near the speed of light, its brightness and motion are magnified; conversely, as an object recedes from us it will appear much dimmer and move more slowly. We believe that both lobes have the same brightness and motion, but the difference we see is caused solely by the illusions associated with their fast motion toward or away from us.

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Page created 05/23/0 by C. Gino