Mira double star, Chandra X-ray image

Mira double star, Chandra X-ray image

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Credit: NASA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Mira double star system, Chandra X-ray telescope image. The system comprises Mira A (right), a huge red giant, and Mira B, a tiny white dwarf. Material from the red giant is attracted to the extremely dense white dwarf by its powerful gravity, and emits X-rays as it is accelerated and heated in an accretion disc around it. The two stars are separated by around 12 billion kilometres. Mira (Omicron Ceti) is a variable star. The regular pulsations in size of the red giant mean that it varies in brightness by a factor of around 1700 over a period of 331 days. It lies around 420 light years from Earth in the constellation Cetus. Image taken on 6th December 2003.

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Keywords: 06/12/2003, 2003, 21st century, accretion disc, astronomical, astronomy, astrophysical, astrophysics, bridge, cetus, chandra, disk, double star, duo, emission, gravitational, interacting, interaction, mira, mira a, mira b, omicron ceti, pair, red giant, space, star, stellar, two, variable star, white dwarf, x-ray, x-rays, xray

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