X-ray binary system, artwork. X-ray binary star system, artwork. Material is being gravitationally drawn from a red giant star (upper left) by a black hole (lower right). The material has formed an accretion disc (blue) around the black hole. Extreme rotation speeds in the disc generate temperatures high enough for the emission of X-rays. Two polar radiation jets are seen emerging from the area around the black hole. A black hole is an object that forms when a massive star exhausts its fuel. Its core collapses under gravity to a diameter of a few kilometres.
Science Photo Library was founded in 1981 by Michael Marten, one of the authors of "Worlds Within Worlds", a book exploring different ways to observe the universe - from electron micrographs, to images of earthrise taken from the Apollo spacecraft. When Marten started receiving requests for the beautiful images in the book, he had an idea of setting up Science Photo Library.
Since then, Science Photo Library has continued to work alongside world acclaimed photographers and the leading science and medical experts to provide a central source of the best science and specialist imagery available. Although the collection started with scientific images, it has grown to encompass all aspects of science and their impact on everyday life.
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