Recent observations have shown that some compact stellar binaries radiate the highest energy light in the universe. The challenge has been to determine the nature of the compact object and whether the very high energy gamma-rays are ultimately powered by pulsar winds or relativistic jets. Multiwavelength observations have shown that one of the three gamma-ray binaries known so far, PSR B1259−63, is a neutron star binary and that the very energetic gamma-rays from this source and from another gamma-ray binary, LS I +61 303, may be produced by the interaction of pulsar winds with the wind from the companion star. At this time it is an open question whether the third gamma-ray binary, LS 5039, is also powered by a pulsar wind or a microquasar jet, where relativistic particles in collimated jets would boost the energy of the wind from the stellar companion to TeV energies.


X-ray binaries Microquasars X-rays Gamma-rays 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.European Southern ObservatorySantiagoChile

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