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X-ray binary (Swift J1357.2-0933)

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Download video: MOV, 85 MB (42 seconds. Full HD 1920 x 1080. Codec H264)
Representation of the X-ray binary Swift J1357.2-0933, consisting of a red (type M) star orbitting a black hole surrounded by an accretion disc. The upper panel helps to interpret the morphology of the system, although we are really viewing it edge on. The star completes an orbit about the black hole every 2.8 hours.

In the edge-on view can be seen a raised structure (like a 'donut') in the accretion disc that produces eclipses of the light from the inner parts of the disc (those closest in to the black hole). This 'donut' orbits the black hole every few minutes repeatedly in more or less regular intervals, as can be seen in the graph (upper left).

After a few days, the 'donut' expands and propagates like a wave in the accretion disc. The duration of the eclipses consequently lengthens since it is now farther away from the black hole, as can be seen in the upper right graph.


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