x-ray binary star
- A binary star system that produces a significant amount of x-ray radiation. When one of the components of a binary system is an extremely dense body such as a white dwarf or a neutron star, its enormous gravitational attraction can pull material from the other star into its own orbit, causing the accelerated matter to release high-energy photons in the x-ray spectrum. See more at accretion disk.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.