X-ray Binaries

Space wiki 

Cygnus X-1 was identified in 1971 and is one of the best stellar-mass black-hole candidates. The companion star, shown on the left in this artist's conception, is a 33 solar-mass star. Optical spectroscopy of this star revealed that it had a large radial velocity amplitude of about 50 km/sec. That, combined with a 5.6-day period inferred the mass of the compact object to be more than 15 solar masses. This is well beyond the neutron star mass limit, so we assume it to be a black hole. This artists conception of the Cyg X-1 system shows the outer layers of the companion star being stripped off and transfered via Roche lobe overflow into an accretion disk around the black hole. A torus of material is shown spiralling into the black hole. It is from the hot inner regions of this accretion disk that X-rays are produced.
Cygnus X-1 was identified in 1971 and is one of the best stellar-mass black-hole candidates. The companion star, shown on the left in this artist’s conception, is a 33 solar-mass star. Optical spectroscopy of this star revealed that it had a large radial velocity amplitude of about 50 km/sec. That, combined with a 5.6-day period inferred the mass of the compact object to be more than 15 solar masses. This is well beyond the neutron star mass limit, so we assume it to be a black hole.
This artists conception of the Cyg X-1 system shows the outer layers of the companion star being stripped off and transfered via Roche lobe overflow into an accretion disk around the black hole. A torus of material is shown spiralling into the black hole. It is from the hot inner regions of this accretion disk that X-rays are produced.

X-ray binaries are a special class of binary star system named for the x-rays they emit which have been detected by Earth and space-based telescopes specifically designed and engineered for this purpose. Believed to be composed of a normal star, much like our own Sun, and a collapsed star – white dwarf, neutron star, or black hole – near or at the end of its life cycle, X-ray binaries are often thought of as “zombie stars” feeding off the lifeblood of nearby companion stars. 

Watch this animation of an X-ray binary system, showing material flowing from a companion star to the X-ray emitting accretion disk around a compact stellar object. You’ll need to make sure you have the right software and drivers to view this amazing video. 

Read and learn more about binary stars here.

Learn more about superstar binaries like Eta Carinae.

Discover more about binary stars here.

Read and learn more specifics about X-ray binaries

Take the space journey of NASA across the cosmos here

 

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