July 6, 2011

Tiny Star Cannibalizes Larger Star

Andrew Fazekas, National Geographic


ESA

A tiny cannibal has been caught in the act, thanks to a superbright flash of x-rays spied by cosmic hunters.

The culprit is what's known as a neutron star, the tiny but very dense corpse of a massive star that died in a supernova blast. Sitting 16,000 light-years away, this particular neutron star is normally among the faintest objects in the x-ray sky.

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TAGGED: Binary Star System, Neutron Stars