JULIAN BAUM / NEW SCIENTIST / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JULIAN BAUM / NEW SCIENTIST / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Illustration entitled 'Red Giant/ Black Hole'. Matter from the surface of the red giant is being pulled by intense gravity toward a black hole. The matter collects in a spiral accretion disc before falling into the rotating black hole itself. As the matter approaches the event horizon (boundary) of the black hole, it heats up and is compressed causing it to emit X-rays. A system where a red giant orbits around a black hole in this way is called an X-ray binary star.
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