3,521 research outputs found

    Type I X-ray Bursts at Low Accretion Rates

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    Neutron stars, with their strong surface gravity, have interestingly short timescales for the sedimentation of heavy elements. Recent observations of unstable thermonuclear burning (observed as X-ray bursts) on the surfaces of slowly accreting neutron stars (<0.01< 0.01 of the Eddington rate) motivate us to examine how sedimentation of CNO isotopes affects the ignition of these bursts. We further estimate the burst development using a simple one-zone model with a full reaction network. We report a region of mass accretion rates for weak H flashes. Such flashes can lead to a large reservoir of He, the unstable burning of which may explain some observed long bursts (duration ‚ąľ1000\sim 1000 s).Comment: 6 pages, 2 figures, submitted to the proceedings of the conference "The Multicoloured Landscape of Compact Objects and Their Explosive Origins'', 2006 June 11--24, Cefalu, Sicily (Italy), to be published by AI

    Hydrodynamic Thermonuclear Runaways in Superbursts

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    We calculate the thermal and dynamical evolution of the surface layers of an accreting neutron star during the rise of a superburst. For the first few hours following unstable 12C ignition, the nuclear energy release is transported by convection. However, as the base temperature rises, the heating time becomes shorter than the eddy turnover time and convection becomes inefficient. This results in a hydrodynamic nuclear runaway, in which the heating time becomes shorter than the local dynamical time. Such hydrodynamic burning can drive shock waves into the surrounding layers and may be the trigger for the normal X-ray burst found to immediately precede the onset of the superburst in both cases where the Rossi X-Ray Timing Explorer was observing.Comment: 4 pages, 3 figures (emulateapj), accepted to ApJ Letter

    Cooling of the crust in the neutron star low-mass X-ray binary MXB 1659-29

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    In quasi-persistent neutron star transients, long outbursts cause the neutron star crust to be heated out of thermal equilibrium with the rest of the star. During quiescence, the crust then cools back down. Such crustal cooling has been observed in two quasi-persistent sources: KS 1731-260 and MXB 1659-29. Here we present an additional Chandra observation of MXB 1659-29 in quiescence, which extends the baseline of monitoring to 6.6 yr after the end of the outburst. This new observation strongly suggests that the crust has thermally relaxed, with the temperature remaining consistent over 1000 days. Fitting the temperature cooling curve with an exponential plus constant model we determine an e-folding timescale of 465 +/- 25 days, with the crust cooling to a constant surface temperature of kT = 54 +/- 2 eV (assuming D=10 kpc). From this, we infer a core temperature in the range 3.5E7-8.3E7 K (assuming D=10 kpc), with the uncertainty due to the surface composition. Importantly, we tested two neutron star atmosphere models as well as a blackbody model, and found that the thermal relaxation time of the crust is independent of the chosen model and the assumed distance.Comment: accepted for publication in ApJL, 4 pages, 1 figure

    ILL as Acquisitions: Implementing and Integrating POD in a Research Library

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    This paper describes Virginia Tech\u27s implementation of a purchase‚Äźon‚Äźdemand (POD) program designed to complement the traditional interlibrary loan workflow. POD can offer a way to obtain otherwise unavailable or unlendable content or to get many items at lower cost than a typical borrowing transaction. POD also offers another means of building the collection through purchases of materials we know will get at least one use. We share key details of our program from pilot phase to its broader integration into the acquisitions workflow

    A Method for Distinguishing Between Transiently Accreting Neutron Stars and Black Holes, in Quiescence

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    We fit hydrogen atmosphere models to the X-ray data for four neutron stars (three from a previous paper, plus 4U 2129+47) and six black hole candidates (A0620-00, GS 2000+25, GS 1124-68, GS 2023+33, GRO J1655-40, and GRO J0422+32). While the neutron stars are similar in their intrinsic X-ray spectra (similar effective temperatures and emission area radii ~10 km), the spectra of two black hole candidates are significantly different, and the spectra of the remaining four are consistent with a very large parameter space that includes the neutron stars. The spectral differences between the neutron stars and black hole candidates favors the interpretation that the quiescent neutron star emission is predominantly thermal emission from the neutron star surface. Our work suggests that an X-ray spectral comparison in quiescence provides an additional means for distinguishing between neutron stars and black holes. The faint X-ray sources in globular clusters are also a class of objects which can be investigated in this manner.Comment: 33 pages, including 3 ps figures, LaTeX. To appear in Ap
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