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X-ray binary star

K003/2712

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Credit

MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Animation of a high-mass X-ray binary star. This system comprises a very bright blue giant star and a small and extremely dense companion star. This second component is typically a neutron star or a black hole, formed from the collapse of a giant star. The density of the companion means that it pulls matter from the blue giant, forming an accretion disc and polar jets. The accretion disc becomes increasingly dense and hot nearer the centre as matter falls inwards, and the hot material emits X-rays. From Earth, such a system is bright visually due to the blue giant, and bright in X-rays due to the companion. A famous example is Cygnus X-1.

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Downloadable Master

  • Duration: 00:00:22.01
  • Audio: No
  • Format: Photo - JPEG

Original

  • Capture Format: QuickTime Animation
  • Codec: Photo - JPEG
  • Interlaced: No
  • Frame Size: 1920 x 1080

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