X-ray Binary

animation of an x-ray binary

The brightest X-ray sources in our galaxy are X-ray binaries. These X-ray binaries are two stars which rotate around each other. One of the two is a normal star; but the other is a collapsed star, such as a neutron star or a black hole, which has about the same mass as our Sun but has shrunk to ten kilometers or less in radius. Material is drawn from the normal star and spirals in via an accretion disk onto the compact star. Intense X-ray emission is released from the inner region of the accretion disk where it falls onto the collapsed star.

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