Universe  ID: 10507

Gamma-Rays from High-Mass X-Ray Binaries

In its first year, NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope discovered GeV (billions of electron volts) intensity variations revealing orbital motion in high-mass X-ray binaries (HMXBs). These are systems where a compact companion, such as a neutron star or a black hole, rapidly orbits a hot, young, massive star. The first examples include LSI +61 303, which sports a 26-day orbital period, and LS 5039 (3.9 days). This animation shows such a system. When the compact object lies far from its host star, TeV (trillions of electron volts) gamma-rays (white) are seen by ground-based gamma-ray observatories. But, as the object plunges closer to the star, the TeV emission is quenched and GeV emission turns on. Interactions by accelerated particles from the compact source with gas encircling the star — or in some systems, the star's light itself — is thought to be responsible for this change.


Walt Feimer (HTSI): Lead Animator
Francis Reddy (SPSYS): Writer
Please give credit for this item to:
Walt Feimer, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

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Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope

Data Used:
Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details nor the data sets themselves on our site.

This item is part of these series:
Astrophysics Animations

SVS >> Neutron Star
DLESE >> Space science
SVS >> X-ray
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Spectral/Engineering >> Gamma Ray
SVS >> Gamma Ray Burst
SVS >> Astrophysics
SVS >> Universe
SVS >> Space
SVS >> Gamma Ray Observatory
SVS >> Fermi
SVS >> Binary Star
SVS >> Binary
NASA Science >> Universe

GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation: Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version