Catalog of cosmic X-Ray sightings will aid astronomers

July 23, 2013 at 6:34 PM

LEICESTER, England, July 23 (UPI) -- A team led by British scientists says it has created a catalog containing the most cosmic X-ray sources ever sighted to help astronomers explore the universe.

Researchers at the University of Leicester used the school's "ALICE" supercomputer to help them produce a new X-ray catalog, dubbed "3XMM," with more than half a million X-ray source detections, a university release said Tuesday.

The catalog represents a 50 percent increase over previous listings and is the largest listing of X-ray sources ever produced, researchers said.

The catalog was created using data from the European Space Agency's X-ray Multi-Mirror Mission. Since Earth's atmosphere blocks out all X-rays, only a telescope in space can detect and study celestial X-ray sources.

"The catalog provides enormous scope for new discoveries as well as in-depth studies of large samples," Leicester researcher Mike Watson said. "XMM-Newton is pre-eminent amongst current X-ray missions in its ability to perform `survey' science, with a chance to find previously undetected objects and then explore their properties."

The XMM-Newton mission is helping solve a number of cosmic mysteries, the scientists said, ranging from the enigmatic black holes to the origins of the universe itself.

Related UPI Stories
Latest Headlines
Trending Stories
Breast cancer drug helps immune response against MRSA
Study of antibodies in HIV patient may help lead to vaccine
Study: Dissolvable stent as good as conventional version
8 things you didn't know about baby gorillas
Study: Elephants rarely get cancer