(SPACE.com) -- Scientists have obtained a rare glimpse of the chaotic environment just miles from the surface of an explosive corpse of a star that is slowly consuming its companion.
An eruption from the neutron star illuminated material flowing onto it, providing lucky astronomers with an unprecedented peek at the activity near the surface of the ultra-dense object. The eruption poured out more energy in three hours than the Sun does in a century.
An artist rendering shows the neutron star at left embedded in a disk of material it is sucking from the normal star at right.
Artist rendering shows the neutron star, which is ultra-dense at the beginning of the explosion.
At the height of the explosion, the rendering shows the inner part of the disk-like collection of gases being pushed outward.
Another rendering shows how the explosion engulfed the neighboring star, devouring it as it began orbiting the neutron.