MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Illustration of a cataclysmic binary, in which a red dwarf (right) is in orbit around a white dwarf. The proximity of the two stars allows the white dwarf's gravity to gradually peel off the atmosphere of its companion. The stolen gas swirls around the white dwarf to form a vast glowing pancake of gas called an accretion disc (left).
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