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Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 9:20 EDT

X-ray Binaries

X-ray Binaries — X-ray binaries are a class of binary stars that are very luminous in X-rays.

The X-rays are produced by matter falling from one component (usually a relatively normal star) to the other component, which is a neutron star or a black hole.

The infalling matter releases gravitational potential energy, up to several tens of per cent of its rest mass as X-rays. (Hydrogen fusion releases about 0.7 per cent of rest mass)

X-ray binaries are further subdivided into several (sometimes overlapping) subclasses, that perhaps reflect the underlying physics better:

– low-mass X-ray binaries

– high-mass X-ray binaries

– Be X-ray binaries

– X-ray bursters

– X-ray pulsars

– Soft X-ray transients

– Microquasars

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X-ray Binaries