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X-ray image of the binary system SS 433

X-ray image of the binary system SS 433

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Credit

LEICESTER UNIVERSITY X-RAY ASTRONOMY GROUP / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY LEICESTER UNIVERSITY X-RAY ASTRONOMY GROUP / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

X-ray image taken by the Einstein satellite of the binary star system SS 433. The binary system (round, bright at centre) is formed by a hot star and either a neutron star or a black hole orbiting together. Two bright areas are seen on either side of the central region. They are thought to be clouds of gas which were ejected from the binary system. The most convincing model suggests that the neutron star or black hole has formed a hot accretion disc around itself by pulling gas from the companion star. Gas is ejected perpendicularly to the disc accelerated by the pressure of the radiation emitted by the disc.

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