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KAT-7 first science, in collaboration with HartRAO - 2013-05-16

The first science result from the KAT-7 radio telescope array in the Karoo has been published. This study, of the interacting binary star system Circinus X-1, was carried out in collaboration with HartRAO. The 26m radio telescope at Hartebeesthoek was used to measure the radio outburst at frequencies of 5 GHz and 8.6 GHz, to complement the imaging by KAT-7 at 1.8 GHz.

Left click on image for large version.
An artist's impression of the Circinus X-1 system showing the binary (double) star system. Two stars orbit each other every 16.5 days in an elliptical orbit. The small white sphere is the neutron star - an extremely dense and compact remnant of an exploded star, only about 20 km in diameter. The red sphere is an ordinary star - the companion star in this system. When the two stars are at their closest, the neutron star pulls material from its companion star. An accretion disk (the blue disk) forms around the neutron star, containing the matter that is sucked from the ordinary star. Powerful jets of material (the orange rays) then blast out from the neutron star at close to the speed of light, causing powerful flares in radio frequencies.

More detail is given in the press release from SKA South Africa.