Optically Variable Close Binary Sources of Strong, Variable X-Ray Radiation (X-Ray Sources)

  • Gerry A. Good
Part of the Patrick Moore’s Practical Astronomy Series book series (PATRICKMOORE)


X-ray variable stars! Surely, you jest? In fact, many X-ray variable stars have an optical component that is within the observational reach of visual observers. Without a doubt, you will fail to detect the X-ray portion of these star’s electromagnetic energy spectrum but that’s not what you want anyway. And if you’re not new to variable star observing, you have probably already viewed stars similar to X-ray variables. Both low-mass X-ray binaries (LMXB) and cataclysmic variables (CV) have similar orbital periods, low-mass donor stars, mass-transfer rates, variability, and eruptions. The essential difference between CVs and LMXBs is that the accretion is onto a white dwarf for cataclysmic variables and in the case of low-mass X-ray binaries, it is onto a more compact neutron star, or possibly a black hole. In a sense, X-ray variables may provide you with an opportunity to study, in an indirect manner of course, neutron stars and perhaps black holes Figure 8.1.




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© Springer-Verlag London 2003

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  • Gerry A. Good

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