Measuring the Universe

6 Dec 2018

At ... a study led by Texas University has shown supersoft X-ray emissions in space can originate from accretion as well as nuclear fusion - or that is the headline of the press release. For many years astronomers were unware of this and have been using a certain type of supernova to measure the expansion of the universe. If this study is right they have been barking up the wrong tree - the squirrel has leaped elsewhere. Does this mean mainstream will turn its consensus opinion inside out - or will an attempt be made to corral the horses before they bolt.

Weak x-rays have long been regarded as a result of nuclear fusion occurring on an exploding star - or supernova. However, it is now obvious that weak x-ray emissions can originate by other processes (see Nature Astronomy, December 2018). In fact, weak x-ray emissions do not require any kind of explosion. What the source of the emissions might be is a puzzle - but the authors propose accretion may have something to do with it (the accumulation of matter). On the other hand, it might not.