A binary system orbiting near a black hole. | Home Page

Black holes are known as voracious eaters, caring nothing for whatever is swallowed by their gravity’s appetite. This example shows a low mass X-ray binary system which consists of a class K star and a black hole, orbiting near enough to each other that the black hole is able to pull away the outer layers of the star, forming an accretion disk of superheated gas. The sole remaining planet will be tortured by gravity until it is finally torn to pieces. The star will eventually be devoured in a burst of searing radiation which bathes everything within several hundred light years. Neither the star nor its orbiting planet have long to live, eventually they will both succumb to the irresistible oblivion that awaits.