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Pictures for the June 5, 2001 Press Release RXTE

To read more about these images visit the Press Release.

Artist's impression of an X-ray binary system which could produce variations characterized by random integer multiples of a single constant.
Note: Click on the images to see an enlarged version

asm sky Top: A normal star and an X-ray star orbit about their common center of mass. A spiral wave of denser material is present in the accretion disk of hot gas spiraling into the X-ray star.
asm sky Center: A quarter of an orbit later, the spiral wave lines up with the maximum pull of gravity between the two stars.

asm sky Bottom: If the resulting tidal forces on the disk have a fixed probability of setting off a disruption, then the X-ray radiation will fade at intervals whose lengths are a constant times some random small integer.

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