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High-mass X-ray binary system with jets, illustration

High-mass X-ray binary system with jets, illustration

C038/9797

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Credit

NASA / CXC / M.WEISS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / CXC / M.WEISS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

High-mass X-ray binary system with jets, illustration. This binary system consists of a massive star (blue, right) and a black hole (centre left). Matter spirals from the massive star toward the black hole, forming an accretion disk (multi-coloured). The matter is heated to temperatures of million of degrees, and intense electromagnetic forces in the disk expel jets of high-energy matter (white). The jets are moving at 26 percent of the speed of light. In this system the jets are slowly wobbling, or precessing, around a fixed axis. The system shown here is SS 433, in the constellation of Aquila, around 16,000 light years from Earth. Image published in 2004.

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