X-ray binary

X-ray binary

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Credit: MARK GARLICK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: X-ray binary. Computer artwork of an X-ray binary star system. Gas is being sucked from the giant blue star (left) by the intense gravity of a super-dense object (right) that could be a black hole or a neutron star. The gas forms an accretion disc around the smaller star. Extreme rotation speeds within the disc generate temperatures high enough for the emission of X-rays. Such X- ray sources were discovered when telescopes were used above the Earth's atmosphere. A giant blue star is a massive, short-lived star. Neutron stars and black holes are produced when massive stars exhaust their fuel and collapse under their own gravity.

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Keywords: accretion disc, artwork, astronomy, astrophysics, black hole, blue giant, cosmology, illustration, neutron, peculiar, science, space, star death, stars, stellar, stellar evolution, universe, x-ray binary, xray

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