Parsec-scale bipolar X-ray shocks produced by powerful jets from the neutron star circinus X-1

P. H. Sell, S. Heinz, D. E. Calvelo, V. Tudose, P. Soleri, R. P. Fender, P. G. Jonker, N. S. Schulz, W. N. Brandt, M. A. Nowak, R. Wijnands, M. Van Der Klis, P. Casella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


We report the discovery of multi-scale X-ray jets from the accreting neutron star X-ray binary, Circinus X-1. The bipolar outflows show wide opening angles and are spatially coincident with the radio jets seen in new highresolution radio images of the region. The morphology of the emission regions suggests that the jets from Circinus X-1 are running into a terminal shock with the interstellar medium, as is seen in powerful radio galaxies. This and other observations indicate that the jets have a wide opening angle, suggesting that the jets are either not very well collimated or precessing. We interpret the spectra from the shocks as cooled synchrotron emission and derive a cooling age of ∼1600 yr. This allows us to constrain the jet power to be 3×1035 erg s-1 ≲ Pjet ≲ 2×1037 erg s-1, making this one of a few microquasars with a direct measurement of its jet power and the only known microquasar that exhibits stationary large-scale X-ray emission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L194-L198
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2 PART 2
StatePublished - Aug 20 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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