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.

Nearby words

  1. x-radiation,
  2. x-rated,
  3. x-ray,
  4. x-ray astronomy,
  5. x-ray binary,
  6. x-ray burster,
  7. x-ray crystallography,
  8. x-ray diffraction,
  9. x-ray microscope,
  10. x-ray photograph

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.