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Large Magellanic Cloud X-ray signal lost in black hole

27 June 2000

Newton, the European Space Agency’s new X-ray observatory
(April p11), was undergoing routine calibration, imaging a
known, stable X-ray source in the Large Magellanic Clouds,
when all of a sudden, the signal mysteriously
disappeared.

LMC X3 is a well known black hole
candidate and the cut-off in its X-ray emission is entirely
unexpected. X-rays come from the hot gas and dust swirling
around the black hole as it is sucked towards the centre.

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