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accretion disk

noun, Astronomy
the rapidly spinning disk of gas that forms around the more compact component of a close binary star system as mass is transferred to the compact companion from the primary star.
Origin of accretion disk
1975-80 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for accretion disk
  • Infrared observations of a binary star reveal a larger, thicker disk of cool dusty material surrounds much of the accretion disk.
  • As that gas spirals inward, it forms an accretion disk that gets denser near the center.
  • The white dwarf usually rips material off its companion and pulls it inward to form a disk, known as an accretion disk.
  • The material settles around the pulsar's middle in a so-called accretion disk.
  • Material from the donor star thus flows directly onto the magnetic poles of the white dwarf, instead of forming an accretion disk.
  • Most larger moons form from an accretion disk of dust and rocks that swirls around a fledgling planet.
  • Such particles never reach the event horizon,they are spun off in the polar jets from the accretion disk.
  • Out there with the accretion disk or someplace, maybe closer.
  • Gravity pulls gases together to form the accretion disk that becomes our solar system.
accretion disk in Science
accretion disk  
A spinning disk of gas and dust surrounding a celestial object with an intense gravitational field, such as a star or a black hole. In binary star systems, the gravitational attraction of the denser star can pull matter from the other star into an accretion disk in its own orbit. The material in the accretion disk eventually spirals into the attracting star and adds to its mass. The gas in accretion disks that surround black holes becomes condensed and heated as it is sucked into the hole, emitting x-rays and other radiation that provide evidence for the presence of the black hole.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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