X-ray Astronomy - Astrophysical Sources of X-rays

Astrophysical Sources of X-rays

Several types of astrophysical objects emit, fluoresce, or reflect X-rays, from galaxy clusters, through black holes in active galactic nuclei (AGN) to galactic objects such as supernova remnants, stars, and binary stars containing a white dwarf (cataclysmic variable stars and super soft X-ray sources), neutron star or black hole (X-ray binaries). Some solar system bodies emit X-rays, the most notable being the Moon, although most of the X-ray brightness of the Moon arises from reflected solar X-rays. A combination of many unresolved X-ray sources is thought to produce the observed X-ray background. The X-ray continuum can arise from bremsstrahlung, black-body radiation, synchrotron radiation, or what is called inverse Compton scattering of lower-energy photons by relativistic electrons, knock-on collisions of fast protons with atomic electrons, and atomic recombination, with or without additional electron transitions.

An intermediate-mass X-ray binary (IMXB) is a binary star system where one of the components is a neutron star or a black hole. The other component is an intermediate mass star.

Hercules X-1 is composed of a neutron star accreting matter from a normal star (HZ Herculis) probably due to Roche lobe overflow. X-1 is the prototype for the massive X-ray binaries although it falls on the borderline, ~2 M, between high- and low-mass X-ray binaries.

Read more about this topic:  X-ray Astronomy

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