SS433 consists of a normal O or B star, with a mass of 10 to 20 solar masses, in a 13.1-day orbit around a compact object that is either a neutron star or a black hole. Material transfers from the normal star into an accretion disk surrounding the compact object blasting out two jets of ionized gas in opposite directions at about a quarter of the speed of light. In addition the jets precess (wobble like a top) with a period of about 164 days. Radio studies show that the jets extend to 0.16 light-year from the central "engine", while X-ray studies reveal emission from about 100 light-years on either side, where the jets interact with the surrounding supernova remnant.
SS433 gets its name because it is object number 433 in the Stephenson-Sanduleak catalogue of stars with strong emission lines compiled by two astronomers at Case Western Reserve University, Bruce Stephenson and Nicholas Sanduleak, in 1977.
Related categories NOTABLE STARS
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