Accretion Disc Shows in the Universe

Accretion Disc Shows in the Universe

This elegant spiral structure seen on computer is not the portrait of a distant galaxy. The three-dimensional graph shows the spiral shock waves in a simulation of an accretion disk, that is, the material that revolves around a compact central object that could represent a dwarf star, a neutron star or a black hole .

Such accretion discs are powerful sources of x-rays inside our galaxy. They are formed in binary star systems, which consist of a donor star and the compact object whose strong gravity attracts the material to its surface.

In known binary X-ray systems, the size of the accumulation disk can be between the diameter of the Sun (1,500,000 kilometers) and the diameter of the lunar orbit (800,000 kilometers). An interesting result of the virtual astrophysics illustrated here is that the simulated disk develops instabilities, which tends to decrease pronounced spiral shocks.

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