An XMM-Newton view of the young open cluster NGC6231
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Image courtesy of Sana et al (2005), Liège Astrophysical Institute (Belgium) and ESA.
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About this Image
This three-colour EPIC-MOS image of the cluster NGC6231 in our Galaxy
has been obtained thanks to a 2-days duration (~50 hours) exposure using
the European X-ray observatory, as a result of one of the deepest
XMM-Newton campaigns ever designed towards a young open cluster. The
image colours have been coded according to the energy of the X-ray
light. Red means soft, low energy emission (0.5-1.0 keV); green is an
intermediate energy level (1.0-2.5 keV) whereas blue indicates hard,
high energy (2.5-10.0 keV) radiation. The present image provides an
unprecedented, high quality view of this rich stellar cluster. The
XMM-Newton data are indeed so exceptional that scientists from the
Astrophysical and Geophysical Institute of Liège (Belgium) have been
working for four years now to provide an in-depth analysis of the
cluster properties. The image reveals more than 600 sources in this
populated field of view. Most of them are probably stellar objects
related to the cluster. The brightest X-ray source at the image centre
is the short period early-type binary HD152248, a colliding wind binary
that has been studied by the Liège team in the X-ray and optical
domains. The other bright but soft (orange/yellow) emitters are
associated to early-type stars in the field of view. The fainter
sources are harder (green) and are believed to be low-mass stars
observed during their formation process (so-called pre-main sequence
stars). Their study gives an insight into the star formation history of
NGC 6231. Finally, a few very hard (blue) sources are also seen, most of
them are supposed to be associated with extragalactic objects.
Investigator(s): H. Sana, G. Rauw, E. Gosset, J.-M. Vreux
Higher resolution versions of this image may be available, please contact the XMM-Newton HelpDesk.
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