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X-ray nova




X-ray nova
Artist's representation of an X-ray nova. The compact object on the right – a neutron star or a black hole – accretes gas from a normal companion star. The gas swirls in a disk around the compact object at very high velocity close to the speed of light from where it emits X-rays. Credit: ESA
A short-lived X-ray source that appears suddenly in the sky and dramatically increases in strength over a period of a few days and then decreases, with an overall lifetime of a few months; it may have an optical counterpart. Unlike a conventional nova, in which the compact component is a white dwarf, an X-ray nova may be caused by material falling onto a neutron star or a black hole.


Related entry

   • X-ray transient


Related categories

   • TYPES OF STARS
   • STELLAR ASTROPHYSICS