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Extracting neutron star properties from X-ray burst oscillations



Many thermonuclear X-ray bursts exhibit brightness oscillations. The brightness oscillations are thought to be due to the combined effects of non-uniform nuclear burning and rotation of the neutron star. The waveforms of the oscillations contain information about the size and number of burning regions. They also contain substantial information about the mass and radius of the star, and hence about strong gravity and the equation of state of matter at supranuclear densities. We have written general relativistic ray-tracing codes that compute the waveforms and spectra of rotating hot spots as a function of photon energy. Using these codes, we survey the effect on the oscillation waveform and amplitude of parameters such as the compactness of the star, the spot size, the surface rotation velocity, and whether there are one or two spots. We also fit phase lag versus photon energy curves to data from the millisecond X-ray pulsar, SAX J1808-3658. © ; 2000 American Institute of Physics.



AIP Conference ProceedingsAmerican Institute of Physics

Published: Jun 23, 2000

Keywords: X-ray sources (astronomical); neutron stars; pulsars; brightness; nuclear fusion; stellar radiation; stellar rotation; waveform analysis; ray tracing

DOI: 10.1063/1.1291737

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