What is a Spider Star System?

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What is a Spider Star System? Blog Image


Scientists at NASA have recently detected the first gamma-ray eclipses from a "spider" star system.

About Spider Star System:

  • It is a binary star system in which a superdense star (pulsar) spins quickly, eats another star.
  • The super-dense object that begins to pull a matter from the companion resembles the habits of spiders of the genus Latrodectus, in which the female eats the male after mating, hence the name came.
  • Initially, the dense pulsar strips material from the outer atmosphere of its companion, periodically shedding the gathered material in violent explosions. 
  • In the later stage of their lifetimes, the energetic particles streaming out of the pulsar can strip the atmosphere of its companion. 
  • In either case, the pulsar slowly erodes its companion over time. 
  • Two Types:
    • Black widows: Binary pulsar systems, in which the mass of a companion star is less than 5 percent of the pulsar.
    • Redback: Binary pulsar systems in which mass of the companion star is from 10 to 50 percent of the pulsar.

What is a Binary Star System?

  • A binary system is one in which two stars orbit around a common centre of mass, that is they are gravitationally bound to each other.

What are Pulsars?

  • Pulsars are rapidly spinning neutron stars, extremely dense stars composed almost entirely of neutrons and having a diameter of only 20 km (12 miles) or less. 
  • They emit concentrated streams of radiation far across the cosmos.

 What are Neutron Stars?

  • They are the remnants of giant stars that died in a fiery explosion known as a supernova. 
  • After such an outburst, the cores of these former stars compact into an ultradense object with the mass of the sun packed into a ball the size of a city.


Q1) What is a supernova?

A supernova is what happens when a star has reached the end of its life and explodes in a brilliant burst of light. Supernovae can briefly outshine entire galaxies(opens in new tab) and radiate more energy than our sun(opens in new tab) will in its entire lifetime. They're also the primary source of heavy elements in the universe.

Source: Scientists spot 1st gamma-ray eclipses from strange 'spider' star systems