166 research outputs found

    Production and evolution of millisecond X-ray and radio pulsars

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    Observations using the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer have discovered dozens of accreting neutron stars with millisecond spin periods in low-mass binary star systems. Eighteen are millisecond X-ray pulsars powered by accretion or nuclear burning or both. These stars have magnetic fields strong enough for them to become millisecond rotation-powered (radio) pulsars when accretion ceases. Few, if any, accretion- or rotation-powered pulsars have spin rates higher than 750 Hz. There is strong evidence that the spin-up of some accreting neutron stars is limited by magnetic spin equilibrium whereas the spin-up of others is halted when accretion ends. Further study will show whether the spin rates of some accretion- or rotation-powered pulsars are or were limited by emission of gravitational radiation.Comment: 13 pages, 1 figure, to appear in Spectra and Timing of Compact X-ray Binaries, ed. P. Ghosh, & E.P.J. van den Heuvel, Advances in Space Research (Elsevier Science) [doi:10.1016/j.asr.2006.08.003], in press (2006

    X-Ray Spectra of Z Sources

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    A simple, physically consistent model has been proposed that seeks to explain in a unified way the X-ray spectra and rapid X-ray variability of the so-called Z sources and other accreting neutron stars in low-mass systems. Here we summarize the results of detailed numerical calculations of the X-ray spectra of the Z sources predicted by this model. Our computations show that in the Z sources, photons are produced primarily by electron cyclotron emission in the neutron star magnetosphere. Comptonization of these photons by the hot central corona and radial inflow produces X-ray spectra, color-color tracks, and countrate variations like those observed in the Z sources.Comment: 6 pages, 2 Postscript figures in 4 files, uses aas2pp4.sty, submitted to ApJ (Letters) 1995 May 3

    Bounds on the Compactness of Neutron Stars from Brightness Oscillations

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    The discovery of high-amplitude brightness oscillations at the spin frequency or its first overtone in six neutron stars in low-mass X-ray binaries during type~1 X-ray bursts provides a powerful new way to constrain the compactness of these stars, and hence to constrain the equation of state of the dense matter in all neutron stars. Here we present the results of general relativistic calculations of the maximum fractional rms amplitudes that can be observed during bursts. In particular, we determine the dependence of the amplitude on the compactness of the star, the angular dependence of the emission from the surface, the rotational velocity at the stellar surface, and whether there are one or two emitting poles. We show that if two poles are emitting, as is strongly indicated by independent evidence in 4U 1636-536 and KS 1731-26, the resulting limits on the compactness of the star can be extremely restrictive. We also discuss the expected amplitudes of X-ray color oscillations and the observational signatures necessary to derive convincing constraints on neutron star compactness from the amplitudes of burst oscillations.Comment: 8 pages plus one figure, AASTeX v. 4.0, submitted to The Astrophysical Journal Letter
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