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X-ray Binary Stars

X-ray binaries near the galactic center
X-ray Binaries (in yellow) near the Galactic Center

If your eyes could see X-rays rather than optical light, you would see a very different and unusual sight when you looked up at the sky. You would be overwhelmed by a few hundred very bright stars, mostly concentrated towards the center of our Galaxy. Most of these stars would in fact be X-ray binaries, where a black hole or neutron star is devouring material from its companion star.

A basic quest of science is to test the laws of physics under all conditions. Unexpected discoveries can lead to breakthroughs in our understanding of the laws of nature. X-ray observations of neutron stars and black holes provide a unique probe into how the Universe operates under extreme physical conditions.

* Mass exchange in Binary Systems
* Binaries that Pulse and Flash
* Determining Orbits and Masses

Imagine the Universe is a service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Nicholas White (Director), within the Exploration of the Universe Division (EUD) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

The Imagine Team
Project Leader: Dr. Jim Lochner
Curator:Meredith Bene
Responsible NASA Official:Phil Newman
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