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Sample records for persistently accreting neutron-star

  1. Matter accreting neutron stars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Meszaros, P.

    1981-01-01

    Some of the fundamental neutron star parameters, such as the mass and the magnetic field strength, were experimentally determined in accreting neutron star systems. Some of the relevant data and the models used to derive useful information from them, are reviewed concentrating mainly on X-ray pulsars. The latest advances in our understanding of the radiation mechanisms and the transfer in the strongly magnetized polar cap regions are discussed.

  2. Accreting Neutron Stars as Astrophysical Laboratories

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chakrabarty, Deepto

    2004-01-01

    In the last year, we have made an extremely important breakthrough in establishing the relationship between thermonuclear burst oscillations in accreting neutron stars and the stellar spin. More broadly, we have continued t o make significant scientific progress in all four of the key focus areas identified in our original proposal: (1) the disk-magnetosphere interaction in neutron stars, (2) rapid variability in accreting neutron stars, (3) physics of accretion flows, and (4) fundamental properties of neutron stars. A list of all publications that have arising from this work since the start of our program is given.

  3. Heating and Cooling in Accreting Neutron Stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cumming, Andrew

    2015-10-01

    Neutron stars in low mass X-ray binaries accrete enough mass over their lifetimes to replace their entire crust. The accreted matter undergoes a series of nuclear reactions in the crust as it is compressed by continued accretion to higher density. These reactions, which include electron captures, neutron emissions, and pycnonuclear reactions, heat the crust and core of the neutron star. In this talk I will discuss what we can learn from observations of transiently accreting neutron stars in quiescence, when accretion has turned off and we can see emission from the neutron star directly. The quiescent luminosity of these neutron stars constrains the neutrino emissivity in the neutron star core. In systems with long accretion outbursts, observations of thermal relaxation of the crust in quiescence enable, for the first time, constraints on the thermal conductivity and heat capacity of the crust. In this way, low mass X-ray binary neutron stars offer a remarkable chance to constrain the properties of dense neutron-rich matter, such as neutron superfluidity and pasta phases in the inner crust of neutron stars.

  4. Plasma physics of accreting neutron stars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ghosh, Pranab; Lamb, Frederick K.

    1991-01-01

    Plasma concepts and phenomena that are needed to understand X- and gamma-ray sources are discussed. The capture of material from the wind or from the atmosphere or envelope of a binary companion star is described and the resulting types of accretion flows discussed. The reasons for the formation of a magnetosphere around the neutron star are explained. The qualitative features of the magnetospheres of accreting neutron stars are then described and compared with the qualitative features of the geomagnetosphere. The conditions for stable flow and for angular and linear momentum conservation are explained in the context of accretion by magnetic neutron stars and applied to obtain rough estimates of the scale of the magnetosphere. Accretion from Keplerian disks is then considered in some detail. The radial structure of geometrically thin disk flows, the interaction of disk flows with the neutron star magnetosphere, and models of steady accretion from Keplerian disks are described. Accretion torques and the resulting changes in the spin frequencies of rotating neutron stars are considered. The predicted behavior is then compared with observations of accretion-powered pulsars. Magnetospheric processes that may accelerate particles to very high energies, producing GeV and, perhaps, TeV gamma-rays are discussed. Finally, the mechanisms that decelerate and eventually stop accreting plasma at the surfaces of strongly magnetic neutron stars are described.

  5. Where a Neutron Star's Accretion Disk Ends

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kohler, Susanna

    2016-03-01

    In X-ray binaries that consist of a neutron star and a companion star, gas funnels from the companion into an accretion disk surrounding the neutron star, spiraling around until it is eventually accreted. How do the powerful magnetic fields threading through the neutron star affect this accretion disk? Recent observations provide evidence that they may push the accretion disk away from the neutron stars surface.Truncated DisksTheoretical models have indicated that neutron star accretion disks may not extend all the way in to the surface of a neutron star, but may instead be truncated at a distance. This prediction has been difficult to test observationally, however, due to the challenge of measuring the location of the inner disk edge in neutron-star X-ray binaries.In a new study, however, a team of scientists led by Ashley King (Einstein Fellow at Stanford University) has managed to measure the location of the inner edge of the disk in Aquila X-1, a neutron-star X-ray binary located 17,000 light-years away.Iron line feature detected by Swift (red) and NuSTAR (black). The symmetry of the line is one of the indicators that the disk is located far from the neutron star; if the inner regions of the disk were close to the neutron star, severe relativistic effects would skew the line to be asymmetric. [King et al. 2016]Measurements from ReflectionsKing and collaborators used observations made by NuSTAR and Swift/XRT both X-ray space observatories of Aquila X-1 during the peak of an X-ray outburst. By observing the reflection of Aquila X-1s emission off of the inner regions of the accretion disk, the authors were able to estimate the location of the inner edge of the disk.The authors find that this inner edge sits at ~15 gravitational radii. Since the neutron stars surface is at ~5 gravitational radii, this means that the accretion disk is truncated far from the stars surface. In spite of this truncation, material still manages to cross the gap and accrete onto the

  6. Thermonuclear flashes on accreting neutron stars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Joss, P. C.

    1979-01-01

    Observations of X-ray bursts from binary pulsars and globular clusters are reviewed. The previously proposed hypothesis is considered that such X-ray bursts result from thermonuclear flashes on accreting neutron stars. A general scenario for this mechanism is outlined, and numerical computations of the evolution of the surface layers of an accreting neutron star are discussed. The relation of these calculations to X-ray bursts and other phenomena is examined. Possible improvements in the numerical calculations are suggested.

  7. Accreting neutron stars by QFT

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Shao-Guang

    layer with thickness of 1 km then q = 1 (N1S1), the gravity from N1S1 inside and exterior will be completely shielded. Because of net nuν _{0} flux is the medium to produce and transmit gravity, q obstructed by the shielding layer lie on the density of layer matter and the section of single nucleon to electronic neutrino obtained by nuclear physics experiments is about 1.1*10 ({-) 43} cm (2) . The mass inside N1S1 for exterior has not gravity interaction, it equivalent to has not inertia as the mass vanish. The neutron star is as a empty shell thereby may rapidly rotating and has not upper limit of mass and radii by the gravity accretion of N1S1, which will influence the mechanisms of pulsars, quasars and X-rays generated. At N1S1 interior the mass for exterior has not gravity which is just we searching dark matter. The mass each part will each other shielding and gravity decrease to less than the pressure of the degenerate neutron gas. The neutron star cannot collapse into a singular point with infinite density, i.e., the black hole with infinite gravity cannot be formed or the neutron star is jest the black hole in observational meaning. By the gravity accrete of N1S1 the neutron star may enlarge its shell radii but thickness keep. Only a shell gravity may be not less than any a observed value which to be deemed as black hole. The neutron star has powerful gravity certainly accompany with great surface negative charge and it may rapidly to rotate, so that there is a powerful magnetic field surround it. The accreting neutron star is as a slowly expand empty shell with fixed thickness of 1 km, its spin period depend on its radii or total accretion mass.

  8. Thermonuclear processes on accreting neutron stars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Joss, P. C.

    1981-01-01

    Theoretical models for X-ray burst sources that invoke thermonuclear flashes on the surface layers of an accreting neutron star are discussed. The historical development of X-ray burst observation is summarized, and a physical picture of a neutron star undergoing accretion is drawn. Detailed numerical computations of the evolution of the surface layers of such a star are reviewed. The need for general relativistic corrections to the model is pointed out. Finally, comparisons are made with observations of X-ray bursts, the rapid burster, fast X-ray transients, X-ray pulsars, and gamma-ray burst sources.

  9. Theoretical Studies of Accreting Neutron Stars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Taam, Ronald E.

    2003-01-01

    Among the newly discovered classes of X-ray sources which have attracted wide attention are close binary systems in which mass is transferred via Roche lobe overflow from a low mass donor star to its neutron star companion. Many of these sources exhibit intense bursts of X-ray radiation as well as periodic and quasi-periodic phenomena. Intensive analysis of these sources as a class has provided insight into the accretion process in binary star systems and into the magnetic field, rotational, and nuclear evolution of the underlying neutron star. In this proposal we have focused on theoretical studies of the hydrodynamical and nuclear processes that take place on the surface of accreting neutron stars in these systems. The investigation of these processes is critical for providing an understanding of a number of outstanding problems related to their transient behavior and evolution.

  10. Thermonuclear processes on accreting neutron stars - A systematic study

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ayasli, S.; Joss, P. C.

    1982-01-01

    A series of model calculations for the evolution of the surface layers of an accreting neutron star is carried out. The neutron star mass, radius, core temperature, and surface magnetic field strength are systematically varied, as are the accretion rate onto the neutron star surface and the metallicity of the accreting matter, in order to determine the effects of these parameters on the properties of thermonuclear flashes in the surface layers and the emitted X-ray bursts that result from such flashes. The core temperatures required for thermal equilibrium are found to be approximately a factor of 2 lower than estimated in earlier work. Owing to the effects of the gravitational redshift, the emitted X-ray bursts have lower peak luminosities and longer durations than those calculated in the Newtonian approximation. The entrainment of hydrogen into helium flashes can cause the flashes to exhibit a rather wide range of observable effects and can decrease by a factor of more than 2 the ratio of persistent accretion-driven luminosity to time-averaged burst luminosity emitted by the neutron star.

  11. Neutron star accretion and the neutrino fireball

    SciTech Connect

    Colgate, S.A.; Herant, M.E.; Benz, W.

    1991-11-26

    The mixing necessary to explain the ``Fe`` line widths and possibly the observed red shifts of 1987A is explained in terms of large scale, entropy conserving, up and down flows (calculated with a smooth particle 2-D code) taking place between the neutron star and the explosion shock wave due to the gravity and neutrino deposition. Depending upon conditions of entropy and mass flux further accretion takes place in single events, similar to relaxation oscillator, fed by the downward flows of low entropy matter. The shock, in turn, is driven by the upflow of the buoyant high entropy bubbles. Some accretion events will reach a temperature high enough to create a neutrino ``fireball,`` a region hot enough, 11 Mev, so as to be partially opaque to its own (neutrino) radiation. The continuing neutrino deposition drives the explosion shock until the entropy of matter flowing downwards onto the neutron star is high enough to prevent further accretion. This process should result in a robust supernova explosion.

  12. Accretion Acceleration of Neutron Stars and Effects of Gravitational Radiation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fu, Yan-yan; Zhang, Yue-zhu; Wei, Yi-huan; Zhang, Cheng-min; Yu, Shao-hua; Pan, Yuan-yue; Guo, Yuan-qi; Wang, De-hua

    2016-01-01

    In this paper we studied the neutron star's spin acceleration in the accretion process of the neutron star binary system, and the relation how the spin period changes with the accreted mass. We analyzed further the evolutions of both magnetic field and spin period of a neutron star, and compared the modeled results with the observational data of pulsars, to show that they are consistent with each other. Based on above studies, we investigated the effect of gravitational radiation on the spin-up process of a neutron star, and derived the change rate of the neutron star's spin period in the accretion process. We also estimated the critical angular velocity Ωcr, at which the accretion torque is balanced by that of gravitational radiation, and discussed the influence of gravitational radiation on the neutron star's spin evolution.

  13. Disk accretion by magnetic neutron stars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ghosh, P.; Lamb, F. K.

    1978-01-01

    A model for disk accretion by a rotating magnetic neutron star is proposed which includes a detailed description of matter flow in the transition region between the disk and the magnetosphere. It is shown that the disk plasma cannot be completely screened from the stellar magnetic field and that the resulting magnetic coupling between the star and the disk exerts a significant torque on the star. On the assumption that the distortion of the residual stellar field lines threading the disk is limited by reconnection, the total accretion torque on the star is calculated. The calculated torque gives period changes in agreement with those observed in the pulsating X-ray sources and provides a natural explanation of why a fast rotator like Her X-1 has a spin-up rate much below the conventional estimate for slow rotators. It is shown that for such fast rotators, fluctuations in the mass-accretion rate can produce fluctuations in the accretion torque about 100 times larger. For sufficiently fast rotators or, equivalently, for sufficiently low accretion rates, the star experiences a braking torque even while accretion continues and without any mass ejection from its vicinity.

  14. Does mass accretion lead to field decay in neutron stars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shibazaki, N.; Murakami, T.; Shaham, Jacob; Nomoto, K.

    1989-01-01

    The recent discovery of cyclotron lines from gamma-ray bursts indicates that the strong magnetic fields of isolated neutron stars might not decay. The possible inverse correlation between the strength of the magnetic field and the mass accreted by the neutron star suggests that mass accretion itself may lead to the decay of the magnetic field. The spin and magnetic field evolution of the neutron star was calculated under the hypothesis of the accretion-induced field decay. It is shown that the calculated results are consistent with the observations of binary and millisecond radio pulsars.

  15. X-ray radiation from accreting, magnetized neutron stars

    SciTech Connect

    Pavlov, G.G.

    1984-01-01

    A review is given of recent developments in the theory of emission from a magnetized plasma for accreting neutron star conditions. Some observational data on X-ray pulsars are discussed, and present problems are indicated. 26 references.

  16. Phase separation in the crust of accreting neutron stars.

    PubMed

    Horowitz, C J; Berry, D K; Brown, E F

    2007-06-01

    Nucleosynthesis, on the surface of accreting neutron stars, produces a range of chemical elements. We perform molecular dynamics simulations of crystallization to see how this complex composition forms new neutron star crust. We find chemical separation, with the liquid ocean phase greatly enriched in low atomic number elements compared to the solid crust. This phase separation should change many crust properties such as the thermal conductivity and shear modulus. PMID:17677319

  17. Nuclear physics problems for accreting neutron stars

    SciTech Connect

    Wallace, R.K.; Woosley, S.E.

    1983-01-01

    The importance of p(e/sup -/nu)n and of (p,..gamma..) reactions on /sup 56/Ni during a thermonuclear runaway on a neutron star surface is pointed out. A fast 16-isotope approximate nuclear reaction network is developed that is suitable for use in hydrodynamic calculations of such events.

  18. Suzaku and BeppoSAX X-ray Spectra of the Persistently Accreting Neutron-star Binary 4U 1705-44

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lin, Dacheng; Remillard, Ronald A.; Homan, Jeroen

    2010-08-01

    We present an analysis of the broadband spectra of 4U 1705-44 obtained with Suzaku in 2006-2008 and by BeppoSAX in 2000. The source exhibits two distinct states: the hard state shows emission from 1 to 150 keV, while the soft state is mostly confined to be <40 keV. We model soft-state continuum spectra with two thermal components, one of which is a multicolor accretion disk and the other is a single-temperature blackbody (BB) to describe the boundary layer, with additional weak Comptonization represented by either a simple power law or the SIMPL model by Steiner et al. The hard-state continuum spectra are modeled by a single-temperature BB for the boundary layer plus strong Comptonization, modeled by a cutoff power law. While we are unable to draw firm conclusions about the physical properties of the disk in the hard state, the accretion disk in the soft state appears to approximately follow L vprop T 3.2. The deviation from L vprop T 4, as expected from a constant inner disk radius, might be caused by a luminosity-dependent spectral hardening factor and/or real changes of the inner disk radius in some part of the soft state. The boundary layer apparent emission area is roughly constant from the hard to the soft states, with a value of about 1/11 of the neutron star surface. The magnetic field on the surface of the neutron star in 4U 1705-44 is estimated to be less than about 1.9 × 108 G, assuming that the disk is truncated by the innermost stable circular orbit or by the neutron star surface. Broad relativistic Fe lines are detected in most spectra and are modeled with the diskline model. The strength of the Fe lines is found to correlate well with the boundary layer emission in the soft state. In the hard state, the Fe lines are probably due to illumination of the accretion disk by the strong Comptonization emission.

  19. SUZAKU AND BeppoSAX X-RAY SPECTRA OF THE PERSISTENTLY ACCRETING NEUTRON-STAR BINARY 4U 1705-44

    SciTech Connect

    Lin Dacheng; Remillard, Ronald A.; Homan, Jeroen

    2010-08-20

    We present an analysis of the broadband spectra of 4U 1705-44 obtained with Suzaku in 2006-2008 and by BeppoSAX in 2000. The source exhibits two distinct states: the hard state shows emission from 1 to 150 keV, while the soft state is mostly confined to be <40 keV. We model soft-state continuum spectra with two thermal components, one of which is a multicolor accretion disk and the other is a single-temperature blackbody (BB) to describe the boundary layer, with additional weak Comptonization represented by either a simple power law or the SIMPL model by Steiner et al. The hard-state continuum spectra are modeled by a single-temperature BB for the boundary layer plus strong Comptonization, modeled by a cutoff power law. While we are unable to draw firm conclusions about the physical properties of the disk in the hard state, the accretion disk in the soft state appears to approximately follow L {proportional_to} T {sup 3.2}. The deviation from L {proportional_to} T{sup 4}, as expected from a constant inner disk radius, might be caused by a luminosity-dependent spectral hardening factor and/or real changes of the inner disk radius in some part of the soft state. The boundary layer apparent emission area is roughly constant from the hard to the soft states, with a value of about 1/11 of the neutron star surface. The magnetic field on the surface of the neutron star in 4U 1705-44 is estimated to be less than about 1.9 x 10{sup 8} G, assuming that the disk is truncated by the innermost stable circular orbit or by the neutron star surface. Broad relativistic Fe lines are detected in most spectra and are modeled with the diskline model. The strength of the Fe lines is found to correlate well with the boundary layer emission in the soft state. In the hard state, the Fe lines are probably due to illumination of the accretion disk by the strong Comptonization emission.

  20. Thermonuclear bursts from slowly and rapidly accreting neutron stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Linares, Manuel

    2012-07-01

    Models of thermonuclear burning on accreting neutron stars predict different ignition regimes, depending mainly on the mass accretion rate per unit area. For more than three decades, testing these regimes observationally has met with only partial success. I will present recent results from the Fermi-GBM all-sky X-ray burst monitor, which is yielding robust measurements of recurrence time of rare and highly energetic thermonuclear bursts at the lowest mass accretion rates. I will also present RXTE observations of thermonuclear bursts at high mass accretion rates, including the discovery of millihertz quasi-periodic oscillations and several bursting regimes in a neutron star transient and 11 Hz X-ray pulsar. This unusual neutron star, with higher magnetic field and slower rotation than any other known burster, showed copious bursting activity when the mass accretion rate varied between 10% and 50% of the Eddington rate. I will discuss the role of fuel composition and neutron star spin in setting the burst properties of this system, and the possible implications for the rest of thermonuclear bursters.

  1. Accreting Millisecond Pulsars: Neutron Star Masses and Radii

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Strohmayer, Tod

    2004-01-01

    High amplitude X-ray brightness oscillations during thermonuclear X-ray bursts were discovered with the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) in early 1996. Spectral and timing evidence strongly supports the conclusion that these oscillations are caused by rotational modulation of the burst emission and that they reveal the spin frequency of neutron stars in low mass X-ray binaries. The recent discovery of X-ray burst oscillations from two accreting millisecond pulsars has confirmed this basic picture and provided a new route to measuring neutron star properties and constraining the dense matter equation of state. I will briefly summarize the current observational understanding of accreting millisecond pulsars, and describe recent attempts to determine the mass and radius of the neutron star in XTE J1814-338.

  2. Polarized X-rays from accreting neutron stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bhattacharya, Dipankar

    2016-07-01

    Accreting neutron stars span a wide range in X-ray luminosity and magnetic field strength. Accretion may be wind-fed or disk-fed, and the dominant X-ray flux may originate in the disk or a magnetically confined accretion column. In all such systems X-ray polarization may arise due to Compton or Magneto-Compton scattering, and on some occasions polarization of non-thermal emission from jet-like ejection may also be detectable. Spectral and temporal behaviour of the polarized X-rays would carry information regarding the radiation process, as well as of the matter dynamics - and can assist the detection of effects such as the Lense-Thirring precession. This talk will review our current knowledge of the expected X-ray polarization from accreting neutron stars and explore the prospects of detection with upcoming polarimetry missions.

  3. Observations of Millisecond Variability from Accreting Neutron Stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Strohmayer, Tod

    1997-04-01

    Observations carried out over the past year by the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) have revealed both quasiperiodic and nearly coherent oscillations with frequencies from 300 - 1200 Hz in at least 10 low mass X-ray binary (LMXB) systems. The X-ray luminosity from these systems is the result of accretion of matter into the deep gravitational potential well of a neutron star. Four of these sources show nearly coherent oscillations during some thermonuclear X-ray bursts which very likely reveal the long sought millisecond spin periods of neutron stars in at least some LMXB. The millisecond timescales of the quasiperiodic oscillations (QPO) are characteristic of processes occuring in the immediate vicinity of the neutron star and provide a new means to investigate the physics of neutron stars and their environs. I will review the discovery and current understanding of these kHz QPO, as they have come to be known, and briefly discuss what their study can teach us about neutron stars.

  4. Thermonuclear reactions in cool accreting neutron stars and burst phenomena

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Miyaji, S.; Nomoto, K.

    1985-01-01

    The ignition of accreting materials on neutron stars is explored using strongly coupled plasma analytical techniques. The calculations cover the ignition temperature and density at the bottom of the accreted envelope of a neutron star. Emphasis is placed on low-temperature ignitions which take place at high densities. The investigation is extended to the accretion of material from a white dwarf in the form of pure He, C + O, or O + Ne + Mg. It is shown that electrons are strongly degenerate in low-temperature flashes, where the ignition is more dependent on density than on temperature. Precursor flashes 0.4-0.7 the intensity of the main burst will appear before the main bursts. The intensity relationship indicates that the appropriate model for an X-ray burst from a neutron star accreting from a white dwarf is a He shell flash in the presence of a hydrogen-rich atmosphere. The flash will have a maximum energy of 2 x 10 to the 43 ergs and could last as long as 40,000 sec.

  5. Electrodynamics of disk-accreting magnetic neutron stars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Miller, M. Coleman; Lamb, Frederick K.; Hamilton, Russell J.

    1994-01-01

    We have investigated the electrodynamics of magnetic neutron stars accreting from Keplerian disks and the implications for particle acceleration and gamma-ray emission by such systems. We argue that the particle density in the magnetospheres of such stars is larger by orders of magnitude than the Goldreich-Julian density, so that the formation of vacuum gaps is unlikely. We show that even if the star rotates slowly, electromotive forces (EMFs) of order 10(exp 15) V are produced by the interaction of plasma in the accretion disk with the magnetic field of the neutron star. The resistance of the disk-magnetosphere-star circuit is small, and hence these EMFs drive very large conduction currents. Such large currents are likely to produce magnetospheric instabilities, such as relativistic double layers and reconnection events, that can accelerate electrons or ions to very high energies.

  6. Compression of matter in the center of accreting neutron stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bejger, M.; Zdunik, J. L.; Haensel, P.; Fortin, M.

    2011-12-01

    Aims: To estimate the feasibility of dense-matter phase transition, we studied the evolution of the central density as well as the baryon chemical potential of accreting neutron stars. We compared the thin-disk accretion with and without the magnetic field torque with the spin-down scenario for a selection of recent equations of state. Methods: We compared the prevalent (in the recycled-pulsar context) Keplerian thin-disk model, in which the matter is accreted from the marginally-stable circular orbit, with the recent magnetic-torque model that takes into account the influence of stellar magnetic field on the effective inner boundary of the disk. Calculations were performed using a multi-domain spectral methods code in the framework of General Relativity. We considered three equations of state consistent with the recently measured mass of PSR J1614-2230, 1.97 ± 0.04 M⊙ (one of them softened by the appearance of hyperons). Results: If there is no magnetic torque and efficient angular momentum transfer from the disk to the star, substantial central compression is limited to the region of initial stellar masses close to the maximum mass. Outside the maximum mass vicinity, accretion-induced central compression is significant only if the angular momentum transfer is inefficient. Accounting for the magnetic field effectively decreases the efficiency of angular momentum transfer and implies a significant central compression. Conclusions: An efficient angular momentum transfer from a thin disk onto a non-magnetized neutron star does not provide a good mechanism for the central compression and possible phase transition. Substantial central compression is possible for a broad range of masses of slowly-rotating initial configurations for magnetized neutron stars. Accretion-induced central compression is particularly strong for stiff equation of state with a high-density softening.

  7. COMPOSITIONALLY DRIVEN CONVECTION IN THE OCEANS OF ACCRETING NEUTRON STARS

    SciTech Connect

    Medin, Zach; Cumming, Andrew E-mail: cumming@physics.mcgill.ca

    2011-04-01

    We discuss the effect of chemical separation as matter freezes at the base of the ocean of an accreting neutron star, and argue that the retention of light elements in the liquid acts as a source of buoyancy that drives a slow but continual mixing of the ocean, enriching it substantially in light elements, and leading to a relatively uniform composition with depth. We first consider the timescales associated with different processes that can redistribute elements in the ocean, including convection, sedimentation, crystallization, and diffusion. We then calculate the steady-state structure of the ocean of a neutron star for an illustrative model in which the accreted hydrogen and helium burn to produce a mixture of O and Se. Even though the H/He burning produces only 2% oxygen by mass, the steady-state ocean has an oxygen abundance more than 10 times larger, almost 40% by mass. Furthermore, we show that the convective motions transport heat inward, with a flux of {approx}0.2 MeV nucleon{sup -1} for an O-Se ocean, heating the ocean and steepening the outward temperature gradient. The enrichment of light elements and heating of the ocean due to compositionally driven convection likely have important implications for carbon ignition models of superbursts.

  8. Neutron Stars Accreting Matter and A Wave Model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wagner, Orvin E.

    2000-04-01

    In 1990 I proposed that oscillating stars and planets radiate quantum like standing waves providing for the spacings of planets and satellites. Waves also provide stability for star systems and the universe (see Physics Essays 12(1): 3-10 for a wave equation and solutions). Radii of orbits are given by r=R(exp(kN)) where R is the radius of the star and N is the orbit integer. k is 0.625 for matter free regions apparently becoming less depending on the density of matter present. This equation or similar may provide an incredibly simple explanation of the most often observed QPO's of matter accreting neutron stars if one assumes that the highest amplitude, highest frequency QPO is due to the N=2 orbit. Since incredibly large gravitational fields are involved the equation may be different. In the usual model a second weaker observed lower frequency QPO is explained as the beat frequency of the star spin frequency with the large amplitude QPO. High density neutron stars likely provide particularly strong orbital forces constraining the accreting matter. See the Wagner web site.

  9. Anisotropy of X-Ray Bursts from Neutron Stars with Concave Accretion Disks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    He, C.-C.; Keek, L.

    2016-03-01

    Emission from neutron stars and accretion disks in low-mass X-ray binaries is anisotropic. The non-spherical shape of the disk as well as blocking of the neutron star by the disk make the observed flux dependent on the inclination angle of the disk with respect to the line of sight. This is of importance for the interpretation of thermonuclear X-ray bursts from neutron stars. Because part of the X-ray burst is reflected off the disk, the observed burst flux depends on the anisotropies for both direct emission from the neutron star and reflection off the disk. This influences measurements of source distance, mass accretion rate, and constraints on the neutron star’s equation of state. Previous predictions of the anisotropy factors assumed a geometrically flat disk. Detailed observations of two so-called superbursts allowed for the direct and the reflected burst fluxes to each be measured separately. The reflection fraction was much higher than what the anisotropies of a flat disk can account for. We create numerical models to calculate the anisotropy factors for different disk shapes, including concave disks. We present the anisotropy factors of the direct and reflected burst fluxes separately, as well as the anisotropy of the persistent flux. Reflection fractions substantially larger than unity are produced in the case where the inner accretion disk increases steeply in height, such that part of the star is blocked from view. Such a geometry could possibly be induced by the X-ray burst if X-ray heating causes the inner disk to puff up.

  10. Conditions for jet formation in accreting neutron stars: the magnetic field decay

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    García, Federico; Aguilera, Deborah N.; Romero, Gustavo E.

    2011-02-01

    Accreting neutron stars can produce jets only if they are weakly magnetized (B ~ 108 G). On the other hand, neutron stars are compact objects born with strong surface magnetic fields (B ~ 1012 G). In this work we study the conditions for jet formation in a binary system formed by a neutron star and a massive donor star once the magnetic field has decayed due to accretion. We solve the induction equation for the magnetic field diffusion in a realistic neutron star crust and discuss the possibility of jet launching in systems like the recently detected Supergiant Fast X-ray Transients.

  11. [Nucleosynthesis, Rotation and Magnetism in Accreting Neutron Stars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bildsten, Lars

    2004-01-01

    This is my final report on the NASA ATP grant on nucleosynthesis, rotation and magnetism in accreting neutron stars (NAG5-8658). In my last two reports, I summarized the science that I have accomplished, which covered a large range of topics. For this report, I want to point out the graduate students that were partially supported on this grant and where they are now. Andrew Cumming is an Assistant Professor of Physics at McGill University, Greg Ushomirsky is a researcher at MIT s Lincoln Laboratories, Dean Townsley is a postdoctoral researcher at Univ. of Chicago, Chris Deloye is a postdoctoral researcher at Northwestern University. The other two students, Phil Chang and Tony Piro, are still at UCSB and will be completing their PhD s in Summer 05 and Summer 06.

  12. A Survey of Chemical Separation in Accreting Neutron Stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mckinven, Ryan; Cumming, Andrew; Medin, Zach; Schatz, Hendrik

    2016-06-01

    The heavy element ashes of rp-process hydrogen and helium burning in accreting neutron stars are compressed to high density where they freeze, forming the outer crust of the star. We calculate the chemical separation on freezing for a number of different nuclear mixtures resulting from a range of burning conditions for the rp-process. We confirm the generic result that light nuclei are preferentially retained in the liquid and heavy nuclei in the solid. This is in agreement with the previous study of a 17-component mixture of rp-process ashes by Horowitz et al., but extends that result to a much larger range of compositions. We also find an alternative phase separation regime for the lightest ash mixtures which does not demonstrate this generic behavior. With a few exceptions, we find that chemical separation reduces the expected {Q}{{imp}} in the outer crust compared to the initial rp-process ash, where {Q}{{imp}} measures the mean-square dispersion in atomic number Z of the nuclei in the mixture. We find that the fractional spread of Z plays a role in setting the amount of chemical separation and is strongly correlated to the divergence between the two/three-component approximations and the full component model. The contrast in Y e between the initial rp-process ashes and the equilibrium liquid composition is similar to that assumed in earlier two-component models of compositionally driven convection, except for very light compositions which produce nearly negligible convective driving. We discuss the implications of these results for observations of accreting neutron stars.

  13. Gravitational Waves from Fallback Accretion onto Neutron Stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Piro, Anthony L.; Thrane, Eric

    2012-12-01

    Massive stars generally end their lives as neutron stars (NSs) or black holes (BHs), with NS formation typically occurring at the low-mass end and collapse to a BH more likely at the high-mass end. In an intermediate regime, with a mass range that depends on the uncertain details of rotation and mass loss during the star's life, an NS is initially formed, which then experiences fallback accretion and collapse to a BH. The electromagnetic consequence of such an event is not clear. Depending on the progenitor's structure, possibilities range from a long gamma-ray burst to a Type II supernova (which may or may not be jet powered) to a collapse with a weak electromagnetic signature. Gravitational waves (GWs) provide the exciting opportunity to peer through the envelope of a dying massive star and directly probe what is occurring inside. We explore whether fallback onto young NSs can be detected by ground-based interferometers. When the incoming material has sufficient angular momentum to form a disk, the accretion spins up the NS sufficiently to produce non-axisymmetric instabilities and gravitational radiation at frequencies of ~700-2400 Hz for ~30-3000 s until collapse to a BH occurs. Using a realistic excess cross-power search algorithm, we show that such events are detectable by Advanced LIGO out to ≈17 Mpc. From the rate of nearby core-collapse supernovae in the past five years, we estimate that there will be ~1-2 events each year that are worth checking for fallback GWs. The observation of these unique GW signatures coincident with electromagnetic detections would identify the transient events that are associated with this channel of BH formation, while providing information about the protoneutron star progenitor.

  14. ORIGIN OF INTERMITTENT ACCRETION-POWERED X-RAY OSCILLATIONS IN NEUTRON STARS WITH MILLISECOND SPIN PERIODS

    SciTech Connect

    Lamb, Frederick K.; Boutloukos, Stratos; Van Wassenhove, Sandor; Chamberlain, Robert T.; Lo, Ka Ho; Coleman Miller, M.

    2009-11-01

    We have shown previously that many of the properties of persistent accretion-powered millisecond pulsars can be understood if their X-ray emitting areas are near their spin axes and move as the accretion rate and structure of the inner disk vary. Here, we show that this 'nearly aligned moving spot model' may also explain the intermittent accretion-powered pulsations that have been detected in three weakly magnetic accreting neutron stars. We show that movement of the emitting area from very close to the spin axis to approx10 deg. away can increase the fractional rms amplitude from approx<0.5%, which is usually undetectable with current instruments, to a few percent, which is easily detectable. The second harmonic of the spin frequency usually would not be detected, in agreement with observations. The model produces intermittently detectable oscillations for a range of emitting area sizes and beaming patterns, stellar masses and radii, and viewing directions. Intermittent oscillations are more likely in stars that are more compact. In addition to explaining the sudden appearance of accretion-powered millisecond oscillations in some neutron stars with millisecond spin periods, the model explains why accretion-powered millisecond oscillations are relatively rare and predicts that the persistent accretion-powered millisecond oscillations of other stars may become undetectable for brief intervals. It suggests why millisecond oscillations are frequently detected during the X-ray bursts of some neutron stars but not others and suggests mechanisms that could explain the occasional temporal association of intermittent accretion-powered oscillations with thermonuclear X-ray bursts.

  15. Atmosphere composition of quiescent accreting neutron stars in globular clusters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Servillat, M.

    2012-12-01

    Through the study of the quiescent X-ray emission of neutron stars in low-mass X-ray binaries it is possible to constrain the equation of state of dense matter. However, the chemical composition of the neutron star atmosphere is still uncertain. Using deep Chandra observations, we report the detailed spectral analysis of a neutron star in the globular cluster M28. For the first time for this kind of object, different atmosphere models composed of hydrogen, helium or carbon are used. The carbon model can be ruled out, and the derived mass and radius are clearly distinct depending on the composition of the atmosphere, leading to different constraints on the equation of state. We compare those results with the other similar neutron stars studied with a hydrogen atmosphere model only and show that a helium model could be relevant in many cases. Measurements of neutron star masses/radii by spectral fitting should consider the possibility of heavier element atmospheres, which produce larger masses/radii for the same data, unless the composition of the accretor is known independently.

  16. Accretion influences cooling of neutron star atmospheres during type-I X-ray bursts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kajava, J.; N"attil"a, J.; Latvala, O.; Pursiainen, M.; Poutanen, J.; Suleimanov, V.; Revnivtsev, M.; Kuulkers, E.; Galloway, D.

    2014-07-01

    Observations of type-I X-ray bursts provide a way of measuring neutron star (NS) masses and radii. The derived mass-radius values depend on the colour-correction factor of the NS photosphere, the photospheric chemical composition and the distance. We have studied 11 bursting low-mass X-ray binaries (LMXB) with RXTE/PCA. We find a correlation between the time evolution of the apparent NS radii during the early cooling phases of X-ray bursts and the spectral properties of the persistent emission before the bursts. NS atmosphere models predict that the colour-correction factor decreases in the early cooling phases when the emitted luminosity drops from the Eddington value. Therefore, the apparent NS radii should be variable during this phase as it depends on this factor. We find that the model predictions agree with the data only when X-ray bursts occur during the hard (island) state of LMXBs. We take this as evidence that the accretion flow - that surrounds the NS - changes the photospheric colour-correction factor during the soft (banana) states, where the atmosphere model predictions never agree with the data. This finding is important as even slight variations in the colour-correction factors cause large errors in the derived neutron star radii.

  17. Near-critical spherical accretion by neutron stars - General relativistic treatment

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Park, Myeong-Gu; Miller, Guy S.

    1991-01-01

    Time-independent spherical accretion by a neutron star is studied using general relativistic radiation hydrodynamics. Numerical integrations of the flow equations are presented. These show that when the luminosity is sufficiently close to (but below) the Eddington limit, the flow velocity increases with decreasing radius far from the neutron star, reaches a maximum at an intermediate radius, and decreases at small radii. A large fraction of the binding energy of the flow is transferred to the radiation through scattering before the flow strikes the surface of the neutron star. Following Miller's treatment of accretion at luminosites near the Eddington limit (which neglected general relativistic effects), analytic approximations for the decelerating phase of the flow's velocity profile are derived. The dependence of the solutions on the variable Eddington factor prescription chosen to close the radiation moment equations is also examined.

  18. 3D MHD Simulations of accreting neutron stars: evidence of QPO emission from the surface

    SciTech Connect

    Bachetti, Matteo; Burderi, Luciano; Romanova, Marina M.; Kulkarni, Akshay; Salvo, Tiziana di

    2010-07-15

    3D Magnetohydrodynamic simulations show that when matter accretes onto neutron stars, in particular if the misalignment angle is small, it does not constantly fall at a fixed spot. Instead, the location at which matter reaches the star moves. These moving hot spots can be produced both during stable accretion, where matter falls near the magnetic poles of the star, and unstable accretion, characterized by the presence of several tongues of matter which fall on the star near the equator, due to Rayleigh-Taylor instabilities. Precise modeling with Monte Carlo simulations shows that those movements could be observed as high frequency Quasi Periodic Oscillations. We performed a number of new simulation runs with a much wider set of parameters, focusing on neutron stars with a small misalignment angle. In most cases we observe oscillations whose frequency is correlated with the mass accretion rate M. Moreover, in some cases double QPOs appear, each of them showing the same correlation with M.

  19. HYPERCRITICAL ACCRETION ONTO A NEWBORN NEUTRON STAR AND MAGNETIC FIELD SUBMERGENCE

    SciTech Connect

    Bernal, Cristian G.; Page, Dany; Lee, William H. E-mail: page@astro.unam.mx

    2013-06-20

    We present magnetohydrodynamic numerical simulations of the late post-supernova hypercritical accretion to understand its effect on the magnetic field of the newborn neutron star. We consider as an example the case of a magnetic field loop protruding from the star's surface. The accreting matter is assumed to be non-magnetized, and, due to the high accretion rate, matter pressure dominates over magnetic pressure. We find that an accretion envelope develops very rapidly, and once it becomes convectively stable, the magnetic field is easily buried and pushed into the newly forming neutron star crust. However, for low enough accretion rates the accretion envelope remains convective for an extended period of time and only partial submergence of the magnetic field occurs due to a residual field that is maintained at the interface between the forming crust and the convective envelope. In this latter case, the outcome should be a weakly magnetized neutron star with a likely complicated field geometry. In our simulations we find the transition from total to partial submergence to occur around M-dot {approx}10 M{sub sun} yr{sup -1}. Back-diffusion of the submerged magnetic field toward the surface, and the resulting growth of the dipolar component, may result in a delayed switch-on of a pulsar on timescales of centuries to millennia.

  20. A SIGNATURE OF CHEMICAL SEPARATION IN THE COOLING LIGHT CURVES OF TRANSIENTLY ACCRETING NEUTRON STARS

    SciTech Connect

    Medin, Zach; Cumming, Andrew E-mail: cumming@physics.mcgill.ca

    2014-03-01

    We show that convection driven by chemical separation can significantly affect the cooling light curves of accreting neutron stars after they go into quiescence. We calculate the thermal relaxation of the neutron star ocean and crust including the thermal and compositional fluxes due to convection. After the inward propagating cooling wave reaches the base of the neutron star ocean, the ocean begins to freeze, driving chemical separation. The resulting convection transports heat inward, giving much faster cooling of the surface layers than found assuming the ocean cools passively. The light curves including convection show a rapid drop in temperature weeks after outburst. Identifying this signature in observed cooling curves would constrain the temperature and composition of the ocean as well as offer a real time probe of the freezing of a classical multicomponent plasma.

  1. The role of binding energies of neutron stars on the accretion-driven evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bagchi, Manjari

    2011-05-01

    Millisecond pulsars are believed to descend from low-mass X-ray binaries. Observable parameters of binary millisecond pulsars, e.g. mass of the pulsar, mass of the companion, spin period of the pulsar, orbital period, orbital eccentricity, etc., are used to probe the past accretion history of the millisecond pulsars. However, unfortunately in these studies the binding energy of the neutron star is not commonly considered. We show that the effect of the binding energy is significant in the estimation of the amount of mass accretion, and thus should be incorporated in models for binary evolutions. Moreover, different equations of state for dense matter give different values for the accreted mass for the same amount of increase in the gravitational mass of the neutron star, implying the need of constraining dense matter equations of state even to understand the spin-up procedure properly.

  2. Accreting, Isolated Neutron Stars. 3; Preheated of Infalling Gas and Cometary H II Regions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Madau, Piero; Warren, Orlando; Blaes, Omer

    1995-01-01

    Nearby, isolated, old neutron stars (IONSs) accreting interstellar material might be detectable as sources of UV and soft X-ray radiation. We investigate the interaction between this radiation field and the surrounding medium, assumed to consist of purely hydrogen and helium. This interaction results in a cometary H II region around the star which we model in detail by including all the relevant time-dependent ionization, recombination, heating, and cooling processes. We find that preheating of the ambient gas to temperatures higher than 10(exp 4) K may significantly quench the accretion rate onto these neutron stars, thereby reducing the IONS number counts in the EUV and soft X-ray bands predicted by previous investigations. However, the reprocessing of hard radiation by the surrounding H II regions may enhance the detectability of IONSs at optical wavelengths. Searches for nearby accreting IONSs are currently being undertaken.

  3. Evidence for Neutron Star Formation from Accretion Induced Collapse of a White Dwarf

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Paradijis, J. Van; VanDenHeuvel, E. P. J.; Kouveliotou, C.; Fishman, G. J.; Finger, M. H.; Lewin, W. H. G.

    1997-01-01

    The orbital parameters of the recently discovered transient burster/pulsar GRO J1744-28 indicate that this system is a low-mass X-ray binary in an advanced stage of its mass transfer, with several tenths of a solar mass already transferred from the donor to the compact star. All neutron stars known to have accreted such an amount have very weak magnetic fields, and this has led to the idea that the magnetic fields of neutron stars decay as a result of accretion. The observation of a strongly magnetized neutron star in GRO J1744-28 then suggests that this neutron star was formed recently as a result of the collapse of a white dwarf during an earlier stage of the current phase of mass transfer. It is shown that this model can consistently explain the observed characteristics of GRO J1744-28. Attractive progenitors for such an evolution are the luminous supersoft X-ray sources detected with ROSAT.

  4. Relativistic Lines and Reflection from the Inner Accretion Disks Around Neutron Stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cackett, Edward M.; Miller, Jon M.; Ballantyne, David R.; Barret, Didier; Bhattacharyya, Sudip; Boutelier, Martin; Miller, M. Coleman; Strohmayer, Tod E.; Wijnands, Rudy

    2010-09-01

    A number of neutron star low-mass X-ray binaries (LMXBs) have recently been discovered to show broad, asymmetric Fe K emission lines in their X-ray spectra. These lines are generally thought to be the most prominent part of a reflection spectrum, originating in the inner part of the accretion disk where strong relativistic effects can broaden emission lines. We present a comprehensive, systematic analysis of Suzaku and XMM-Newton spectra of 10 neutron star LMXBs, all of which display broad Fe K emission lines. Of the 10 sources, 4 are Z sources, 4 are atolls, and 2 are accreting millisecond X-ray pulsars (also atolls). The Fe K lines are fit well by a relativistic line model for a Schwarzschild metric, and imply a narrow range of inner disk radii (6-15 GM/c 2) in most cases. This implies that the accretion disk extends close to the neutron star surface over a range of luminosities. Continuum modeling shows that for the majority of observations, a blackbody component (plausibly associated with the boundary layer) dominates the X-ray emission from 8 to 20 keV. Thus it appears likely that this spectral component produces the majority of the ionizing flux that illuminates the accretion disk. Therefore, we also fit the spectra with a blurred reflection model, wherein a blackbody component illuminates the disk. This model fits well in most cases, supporting the idea that the boundary layer illuminates a geometrically thin disk.

  5. RELATIVISTIC LINES AND REFLECTION FROM THE INNER ACCRETION DISKS AROUND NEUTRON STARS

    SciTech Connect

    Cackett, Edward M.; Miller, Jon M.; Ballantyne, David R.; Barret, Didier; Boutelier, Martin; Miller, M. Coleman; Strohmayer, Tod E.

    2010-09-01

    A number of neutron star low-mass X-ray binaries (LMXBs) have recently been discovered to show broad, asymmetric Fe K emission lines in their X-ray spectra. These lines are generally thought to be the most prominent part of a reflection spectrum, originating in the inner part of the accretion disk where strong relativistic effects can broaden emission lines. We present a comprehensive, systematic analysis of Suzaku and XMM-Newton spectra of 10 neutron star LMXBs, all of which display broad Fe K emission lines. Of the 10 sources, 4 are Z sources, 4 are atolls, and 2 are accreting millisecond X-ray pulsars (also atolls). The Fe K lines are fit well by a relativistic line model for a Schwarzschild metric, and imply a narrow range of inner disk radii (6-15 GM/c {sup 2}) in most cases. This implies that the accretion disk extends close to the neutron star surface over a range of luminosities. Continuum modeling shows that for the majority of observations, a blackbody component (plausibly associated with the boundary layer) dominates the X-ray emission from 8 to 20 keV. Thus it appears likely that this spectral component produces the majority of the ionizing flux that illuminates the accretion disk. Therefore, we also fit the spectra with a blurred reflection model, wherein a blackbody component illuminates the disk. This model fits well in most cases, supporting the idea that the boundary layer illuminates a geometrically thin disk.

  6. Spectrum-luminosity dependence of radiation from the polar emitting regions in accreting magnetized neutron stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Klochkov, Dmitry

    2016-04-01

    The recent progress in observational techniques allowed one to probe the evolution of the X-ray spectrum in accreting pulsars (especially, of the cyclotron absorption line - the key spectral feature of accreting magnetized neutron stars) in great detail on various timescales, from pulse-to-pulse variability to secular trends. Particularly interesting are the discovered spectrum-luminosity correlations which are being used to infer the structure and physical characteristics of the pulsar's polar emitting region. I will present the latest developments in the modeling of the emitting structure (accretion column/mound/spot) aimed at explaining the observed spectrum-luminosity dependences.

  7. Accretion onto neutron stars with the presence of a double layer

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Williams, A. C.; Weisskopf, M. C.; Elsner, R. F.; Darbro, W.; Sutherland, P. G.

    1987-01-01

    It is known, from laboratory experiments, that double layers will form in plasmas, usually in the presence of an electric current. It is argued that a double layer may be present in the accretion column of a neutron star in a binary system. It is suggested that the double layer may be the predominant deceleration mechanism for the accreting ions, especially for sources with X-ray luminosities of less than about 10 to the 37th erg/s. Previous models have involved either a collisionless shock or an assumed gradual deceleration of the accreting ions to thermalize the energy of the infalling matter.

  8. Accretion onto neutron stars with the presence of a double layer

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Williams, A. C.; Weisskopf, M. C.; Elsner, R. F.; Darbro, W.; Sutherland, P. G.

    1986-01-01

    It is known from laboratory experiments that double layers can form in plasmas, usually in the presence of an electric current. It is argued that a double layer may be present in the accretion column of a neutron star in a binary system. It is suggested that the double layer may be the predominant deceleration mechanism for the accreting ions, especially for sources with X-ray luminosities of less than about 10 to the 37th erg/s. Previous models have involved either a collisionless shock or an assumed gradual deceleration of the accreting ions to thermalize the energy of the infalling matter.

  9. Thermal conductivity and impurity scattering in the accreting neutron star crust

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roggero, Alessandro; Reddy, Sanjay

    2016-07-01

    We calculate the thermal conductivity of electrons for the strongly correlated multicomponent ion plasma expected in the outer layers of a neutron star's crust, employing a Path Integral Monte Carlo (PIMC) approach. This allows us to isolate the low energy response of the ions and use it to calculate the electron scattering rate and the electron thermal conductivity. We find that the scattering rate is enhanced by a factor 2-4 compared to earlier calculations based on the simpler electron-impurity scattering formalism. This finding impacts the interpretation of thermal relaxation observed in transiently accreting neutron stars, and has implications for the composition and nuclear reactions in the crust that occur during accretion.

  10. The Nature of the Unidentified EUV Sources: Accreting Isolated Neutron Stars?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Madau, Piero

    1999-01-01

    The aims of this project were: (1) to investigate the nature of the EUVE (Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer Satellite) 'NOID' sources, objects detected in the EUV bandpass but with no previous identification at optical or other energies; (2) to study the possible association of NOID sources with nearby, isolated neutron stars among the 1e9 predicted to exist in the Galaxy. These dead radio pulsars have not been detected so far in large numbers, but accretion from the interstellar medium can make them bright at EUV wavelengths; and (3) to use the EUVE data to set constraints on neutron star evolution, accretion physics and population properties. The original objectives of our program remain relevant. Indeed, the level of research in this area has increased substantially since our proposal was submitted as a result of new data from the ROSAT (Roentgen Satellite).

  11. Thermonuclear processes and accretion onto neutron star envelopes - X-ray burst and transient sources

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Starrfield, S.; Kenyon, S.; Truran, J. W.; Sparks, W. M.

    1982-01-01

    A Lagrangian, fully implicit, one-dimensional hydrodynamic computer code is used to investigate the evolution of thermonuclear runaways in the thick accreted hydrogen-rich envelopes of 1.0-solar-mass neutron stars having radii of 10 km and 20 km. The simulations produce outbursts that range in time scale from about 2000 seconds to more than a day. For the 10-km study, the peak effective temperature is 3.3 x 10 to the 7th K, and the peak luminosity is 2 x 10 to the 5th solar luminosities. The 20-km neutron star produces a peak effective temperature and luminosity of 5.3 x 10 to the 6th K and 5.9 x 10 to the 2nd solar luminosities. Also investigated are the effects of changes in the rates of the O-14(alpha, proton) and O-15(alpha, gamma) reactions on the evolution. Hydrodynamic expansion on the 10-km neutron star produces a precursor lasting about 10 to the -6th sec. The evolution of a gas cloud impacting the surface of a 20-km, 1-solar-mass neutron star is studied in an attempt to simulate the magnetospheric gate model of the X-ray burst sources.

  12. Clumpy wind accretion in supergiant neutron star high mass X-ray binaries

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bozzo, E.; Oskinova, L.; Feldmeier, A.; Falanga, M.

    2016-04-01

    The accretion of the stellar wind material by a compact object represents the main mechanism powering the X-ray emission in classical supergiant high mass X-ray binaries and supergiant fast X-ray transients. In this work we present the first attempt to simulate the accretion process of a fast and dense massive star wind onto a neutron star, taking into account the effects of the centrifugal and magnetic inhibition of accretion ("gating") due to the spin and magnetic field of the compact object. We made use of a radiative hydrodynamical code to model the nonstationary radiatively driven wind of an O-B supergiant star and then place a neutron star characterized by a fixed magnetic field and spin period at a certain distance from the massive companion. Our calculations follow, as a function of time (on a total timescale of several hours), the transitions of the system through all different accretion regimes that are triggered by the intrinsic variations in the density and velocity of the nonstationary wind. The X-ray luminosity released by the system is computed at each time step by taking into account the relevant physical processes occurring in the different accretion regimes. Synthetic lightcurves are derived and qualitatively compared with those observed from classical supergiant high mass X-ray binaries and supergiant fast X-ray transients. Although a number of simplifications are assumed in these calculations, we show that taking into account the effects of the centrifugal and magnetic inhibition of accretion significantly reduces the average X-ray luminosity expected for any neutron star wind-fed binary. The present model calculations suggest that long spin periods and stronger magnetic fields are favored in order to reproduce the peculiar behavior of supergiant fast X-ray transients in the X-ray domain.

  13. Clumpy wind accretion in supergiant neutron star high mass X-ray binaries

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bozzo, E.; Oskinova, L.; Feldmeier, A.; Falanga, M.

    2016-05-01

    The accretion of the stellar wind material by a compact object represents the main mechanism powering the X-ray emission in classical supergiant high mass X-ray binaries and supergiant fast X-ray transients. In this work we present the first attempt to simulate the accretion process of a fast and dense massive star wind onto a neutron star, taking into account the effects of the centrifugal and magnetic inhibition of accretion ("gating") due to the spin and magnetic field of the compact object. We made use of a radiative hydrodynamical code to model the nonstationary radiatively driven wind of an O-B supergiant star and then place a neutron star characterized by a fixed magnetic field and spin period at a certain distance from the massive companion. Our calculations follow, as a function of time (on a total timescale of several hours), the transitions of the system through all different accretion regimes that are triggered by the intrinsic variations in the density and velocity of the nonstationary wind. The X-ray luminosity released by the system is computed at each time step by taking into account the relevant physical processes occurring in the different accretion regimes. Synthetic lightcurves are derived and qualitatively compared with those observed from classical supergiant high mass X-ray binaries and supergiant fast X-ray transients. Although a number of simplifications are assumed in these calculations, we show that taking into account the effects of the centrifugal and magnetic inhibition of accretion significantly reduces the average X-ray luminosity expected for any neutron star wind-fed binary. The present model calculations suggest that long spin periods and stronger magnetic fields are favored in order to reproduce the peculiar behavior of supergiant fast X-ray transients in the X-ray domain.

  14. Mergers of magnetized neutron stars with spinning black holes: disruption, accretion, and fallback.

    PubMed

    Chawla, Sarvnipun; Anderson, Matthew; Besselman, Michael; Lehner, Luis; Liebling, Steven L; Motl, Patrick M; Neilsen, David

    2010-09-10

    We investigate the merger of a neutron star in orbit about a spinning black hole in full general relativity with a mass ratio of 5:1, allowing the star to have an initial magnetization of 10(12)  G. We present the resulting gravitational waveform and analyze the fallback accretion as the star is disrupted. We see no significant dynamical effects in the simulations or changes in the gravitational waveform resulting from the initial magnetization. We find that only a negligible amount of matter becomes unbound; 99% of the neutron star material has a fallback time of 10 seconds or shorter to reach the region of the central engine and that 99.99% of the star will interact with the central disk and black hole within 3 hours. PMID:20867561

  15. Mergers of Magnetized Neutron Stars with Spinning Black Holes: Disruption, Accretion, and Fallback

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chawla, Sarvnipun; Anderson, Matthew; Besselman, Michael; Lehner, Luis; Liebling, Steven L.; Motl, Patrick M.; Neilsen, David

    2010-09-01

    We investigate the merger of a neutron star in orbit about a spinning black hole in full general relativity with a mass ratio of 5∶1, allowing the star to have an initial magnetization of 1012G. We present the resulting gravitational waveform and analyze the fallback accretion as the star is disrupted. We see no significant dynamical effects in the simulations or changes in the gravitational waveform resulting from the initial magnetization. We find that only a negligible amount of matter becomes unbound; 99% of the neutron star material has a fallback time of 10 seconds or shorter to reach the region of the central engine and that 99.99% of the star will interact with the central disk and black hole within 3 hours.

  16. Thermal conductivity and phase separation of the crust of accreting neutron stars.

    PubMed

    Horowitz, C J; Caballero, O L; Berry, D K

    2009-02-01

    Recently, crust cooling times have been measured for neutron stars after extended outbursts. These observations are very sensitive to the thermal conductivity kappa of the crust and strongly suggest that kappa is large. We perform molecular dynamics simulations of the structure of the crust of an accreting neutron star using a complex composition that includes many impurities. The composition comes from simulations of rapid proton capture nucleosynthesis followed by electron captures. We find that the thermal conductivity is reduced by impurity scattering. In addition, we find phase separation. Some impurities with low atomic number Z are concentrated in a subregion of the simulation volume. For our composition, the solid crust must separate into regions of different compositions. This could lead to an asymmetric star with a quadrupole deformation. Observations of crust cooling can constrain impurity concentrations. PMID:19391802

  17. Time-dependent, Compositionally Driven Convection in the Oceans of Accreting Neutron Stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Medin, Zach; Cumming, Andrew

    2015-03-01

    We discuss the effect of convection driven by chemical separation at the ocean-crust boundary of accreting neutron stars. We extend the steady-state results of Medin & Cumming to transient accretors, by considering the time-dependent cases of heating during accretion outbursts and cooling during quiescence. During accretion outbursts, inward heat transport has only a small effect on the temperature profile in the outer layers until the ocean is strongly enriched in light elements, a process that takes hundreds of years to complete. During quiescence, however, inward heat transport rapidly cools the outer layers of the ocean while keeping the inner layers hot. We find that this leads to a sharp drop in surface emission at around a week followed by a gradual recovery as cooling becomes dominated by the crust. Such a dip should be observable in the light curves of these neutron star transients, if enough data is taken at a few days to a month after the end of accretion. If such a dip is definitively observed, it will provide strong constraints on the chemical composition of the ocean and outer crust.

  18. Gamma-ray bursts from the accretion of solid bodies onto high-velocity Galactic neutron stars

    SciTech Connect

    Colgate, S.A.; Leonard, P.J.T.

    1993-12-31

    We propose a simple model for the gamma-ray bursts based on high- velocity Galactic neutron stars that have accretion disks. The latter are formed from a mixture of material from the supernova shell and that ablated from a pre-supernova binary companion. Accretion onto the neutron star from this disk when the disk is still largely gaseous may result in a soft gamma-ray repeater phase. Much later, after the neutron star has moved away from its birthplace, solid bodies form in the disk, and some are perturbed into hitting the neutron star to create gamma-ray bursts. This model makes several predictions that are consistent with the observations. The observed combination of a high degree of isotropy on the sky coupled with the observed value of < V/V{sub max}> is not, at first glance, predicted, but is not impossible to attain in our model.

  19. Carbon production on accreting neutron stars in a new regime of stable nuclear burning

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keek, L.; Heger, A.

    2016-02-01

    Accreting neutron stars exhibit Type I X-ray bursts from both frequent hydrogen/helium flashes as well as rare carbon flashes. The latter (superbursts) ignite in the ashes of the former. Hydrogen/helium bursts, however, are thought to produce insufficient carbon to power superbursts. Stable burning could create the required carbon, but this was predicted to only occur at much larger accretion rates than where superbursts are observed. We present models of a new steady-state regime of stable hydrogen and helium burning that produces pure carbon ashes. Hot CNO burning of hydrogen heats the neutron star envelope and causes helium to burn before the conditions of a helium flash are reached. This takes place when the mass accretion rate is around 10 per cent of the Eddington limit: close to the rate where most superbursts occur. We find that increased heating at the base of the envelope sustains steady-state burning by steepening the temperature profile, which increases the amount of helium that burns before a runaway can ensue.

  20. The imprint of carbon combustion on a superburst from the accreting neutron star 4U 1636-536

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keek, L.; Cumming, A.; Wolf, Z.; Ballantyne, D. R.; Suleimanov, V. F.; Kuulkers, E.; Strohmayer, T. E.

    2015-12-01

    Superbursts are hours-long X-ray flares attributed to the thermonuclear runaway burning of carbon-rich material in the envelope of accreting neutron stars. By studying the details of the X-ray light curve, properties of carbon combustion can be determined. In particular, we show that the shape of the rise of the light curve is set by the slope of the temperature profile left behind by the carbon flame. We analyse Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer/Proportional Counter Array observations of 4U 1636-536 and separate the direct neutron star emission from evolving photoionized reflection and persistent spectral components. This procedure results in the highest quality light curve ever produced for the superburst rise and peak, and interesting behaviour is found in the tail. The rising light curve between 100 and 1000 s is inconsistent with the idea that the fuel burned locally and instantaneously everywhere, as assumed in some previous models. By fitting improved cooling models, we measure for the first time the radial temperature profile of the superbursting layer. We find d ln T/d ln P ≈ 1/4. Furthermore, 20 per cent of the fuel may be left unburned. This gives a new constraint on models of carbon burning and propagation in superbursts.

  1. Connection between accretion state and FeK winds in neutron stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ponti, G.; Munoz-Darias, T.; Bianchi, S.

    2015-07-01

    High resolution X-ray spectra of accreting stellar mass Black Holes (BH) reveal the presence of accretion disc winds, traced by high ionisation FeK lines. These winds appear to have an equatorial geometry and to be observed only during disc dominated states in which the radio jet is absent. Accreting Neutron Star (NS) systems also show equatorial high ionisation absorbers. However the presence of any correlation with the accretion state has not been previously tested. We have studied EXO0748-676 and AXJ1745.6-2901 the two high-inclination accreting NS with the best XMM-Chandra monitoring. Not one of twenty X-ray spectra obtained in the hard state revealed any significant Fe K absorption line. Intense Fexxv and Fexxvi are always clearly detected during the 10 soft state observations. The variability of the absorption features does not appear to be due to plasma over-ionisation in the hard state. This suggests that the connection between Fe K absorption and states (and anticorrelation between the presence of Fe K absorption and jets) is also valid for EXO0748-676 and AXJ1745.6-2901 and therefore it is not a unique property of BH systems but a more general characteristic of accreting sources.

  2. Reaction rate and composition dependence of the stability of thermonuclear burning on accreting neutron stars

    SciTech Connect

    Keek, L.; Cyburt, R. H.; Heger, A.

    2014-06-01

    The stability of thermonuclear burning of hydrogen and helium accreted onto neutron stars is strongly dependent on the mass accretion rate. The burning behavior is observed to change from Type I X-ray bursts to stable burning, with oscillatory burning occurring at the transition. Simulations predict the transition at a 10 times higher mass accretion rate than observed. Using numerical models we investigate how the transition depends on the hydrogen, helium, and CNO mass fractions of the accreted material, as well as on the nuclear reaction rates of 3α and the hot-CNO breakout reactions {sup 15}O(α, γ){sup 19}Ne and {sup 18}Ne(α, p){sup 21}Na. For a lower hydrogen content the transition is at higher accretion rates. Furthermore, most experimentally allowed reaction rate variations change the transition accretion rate by at most 10%. A factor 10 decrease of the {sup 15}O(α, γ){sup 19}Ne rate, however, produces an increase of the transition accretion rate of 35%. None of our models reproduce the transition at the observed rate, and depending on the true {sup 15}O(α, γ){sup 19}Ne reaction rate, the actual discrepancy may be substantially larger. We find that the width of the interval of accretion rates with marginally stable burning depends strongly on both composition and reaction rates. Furthermore, close to the stability transition, our models predict that X-ray bursts have extended tails where freshly accreted fuel prolongs nuclear burning.

  3. Bondi Accretion and the Problem of the Missing Isolated Neutron Stars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Perna, Rosalba; Narayan, Ramesh; Rybicki, George; Stella, Luigi; Treves, Aldo

    2003-01-01

    A large number of neutron stars (NSs), approximately 10(exp 9), populate the Galaxy, but only a tiny fraction of them is observable during the short radio pulsar lifetime. The majority of these isolated NSs, too cold to be detectable by their own thermal emission, should be visible in X-rays as a result of accretion from the interstellar medium. The ROSAT All-Sky Survey has, however, shown that such accreting isolated NSs are very elusive: only a few tentative candidates have been identified, contrary to theoretical predictions that up to several thousand should be seen. We suggest that the fundamental reason for this discrepancy lies in the use of the standard Bondi formula to estimate the accretion rates. We compute the expected source counts using updated estimates of the pulsar velocity distribution, realistic hydrogen atmosphere spectra, and a modified expression for the Bondi accretion rate, as suggested by recent MHD simulations and supported by direct observations in the case of accretion around supermassive black holes in nearby galaxies and in our own. We find that, whereas the inclusion of atmospheric spectra partly compensates for the reduction in the counts due to the higher mean velocities of the new distribution, the modified Bondi formula dramatically suppresses the source counts. The new predictions are consistent with a null detection at the ROSAT sensitivity.

  4. Constraints on the Neutron Star and Inner Accretion Flow in Serpens X-1 Using Nustar

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Miller, J. M.; Parker, M. L.; Fuerst, F.; Bachetti, M.; Barret, D.; Grefenstette, B. W.; Tendulkar, S.; Harrison, F. A.; Boggs, S. E.; Chakrabarty, D.; Christensen, F. E.; Craig, W. W.; Fabian, A. C.; Hailey, C. J.; Natalucci, L.; Paerels, F.; Rana, V.; Stern, D. K.; Tomsick, J. A.; Zhang, Will

    2013-01-01

    We report on an observation of the neutron star low-mass X-ray binary Serpens X-1, made with NuSTAR. The extraordinary sensitivity afforded by NuSTAR facilitated the detection of a clear, robust, relativistic Fe K emission line from the inner disk. A relativistic profile is required over a single Gaussian line from any charge state of Fe at the 5 sigma level of confidence, and any two Gaussians of equal width at the same confidence. The Compton back-scattering "hump" peaking in the 10-20 keV band is detected for the first time in a neutron star X-ray binary. Fits with relativistically blurred disk reflection models suggest that the disk likely extends close to the innermost stable circular orbit (ISCO) or stellar surface. The best-fit blurred reflection models constrain the gravitational redshift from the stellar surface to be ZnS (is) greater than 0.16. The data are broadly compatible with the disk extending to the ISCO; in that case,ZnS(is) greater than 0.22 and RNS (is) less than12.6 km (assuming MnS = 1.4 solar mass and a = 0, where a = cJ/GM2). If the star is as large or larger than its ISCO, or if the effective reflecting disk leaks across the ISCO to the surface, the redshift constraints become measurements. We discuss our results in the context of efforts to measure fundamental properties of neutron stars, and models for accretion onto compact objects.

  5. An ultraluminous X-ray source powered by an accreting neutron star.

    PubMed

    Bachetti, M; Harrison, F A; Walton, D J; Grefenstette, B W; Chakrabarty, D; Fürst, F; Barret, D; Beloborodov, A; Boggs, S E; Christensen, F E; Craig, W W; Fabian, A C; Hailey, C J; Hornschemeier, A; Kaspi, V; Kulkarni, S R; Maccarone, T; Miller, J M; Rana, V; Stern, D; Tendulkar, S P; Tomsick, J; Webb, N A; Zhang, W W

    2014-10-01

    The majority of ultraluminous X-ray sources are point sources that are spatially offset from the nuclei of nearby galaxies and whose X-ray luminosities exceed the theoretical maximum for spherical infall (the Eddington limit) onto stellar-mass black holes. Their X-ray luminosities in the 0.5-10 kiloelectronvolt energy band range from 10(39) to 10(41) ergs per second. Because higher masses imply less extreme ratios of the luminosity to the isotropic Eddington limit, theoretical models have focused on black hole rather than neutron star systems. The most challenging sources to explain are those at the luminous end of the range (more than 10(40) ergs per second), which require black hole masses of 50-100 times the solar value or significant departures from the standard thin disk accretion that powers bright Galactic X-ray binaries, or both. Here we report broadband X-ray observations of the nuclear region of the galaxy M82 that reveal pulsations with an average period of 1.37 seconds and a 2.5-day sinusoidal modulation. The pulsations result from the rotation of a magnetized neutron star, and the modulation arises from its binary orbit. The pulsed flux alone corresponds to an X-ray luminosity in the 3-30 kiloelectronvolt range of 4.9 × 10(39) ergs per second. The pulsating source is spatially coincident with a variable source that can reach an X-ray luminosity in the 0.3-10 kiloelectronvolt range of 1.8 × 10(40) ergs per second. This association implies a luminosity of about 100 times the Eddington limit for a 1.4-solar-mass object, or more than ten times brighter than any known accreting pulsar. This implies that neutron stars may not be rare in the ultraluminous X-ray population, and it challenges physical models for the accretion of matter onto magnetized compact objects. PMID:25297433

  6. Neutron stars and millisecond pulsars from accretion-induced collapse in globular clusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bailyn, Charles D.; Grindlay, Jonathan E.

    1990-01-01

    This paper examines the limits on the number of millisecond pulsars which could be formed in globular clusters by the generally accepted scenario (in which a neutron star is created by the supernova of an initially massive star and subsequently captures a companion to form a low-mass X-ray binary which eventually becomes a millisecond pulsar). It is found that, while the number of observed low-mass X-ray binaries can be adequately explained in this way, the reasonable assumption that the pulsar luminosity function in clusters extends below the current observational limits down to the luminosity of the faintest millisecond pulsars in the field suggests a cluster population of millisecond pulsars which is substantially larger than the standard model can produce. Alleviating this problem by postulating much shorter lifetimes for the X-ray binaries requires massive star populations sufficiently large that the mass loss resulting from their evolution would be likely to unbind the cluster. It is argued that neutron star formation in globular clusters by accretion-induced collapse of white dwarfs may resolve the discrepancy in birthrates.

  7. Slowly accreting neutron stars and the origin of gamma-ray bursts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blaes, O.; Blandford, R.; Madau, P.; Koonin, S.

    1990-11-01

    Old, isolated neutron stars accrete interstellar gas at a rate of about 10 to the 10th g/s. At this slow accretion rate, the interior temperature is too low for thermonuclear reactions to proceed, and the hydrogen burns by pycnonuclear reactions. The resulting helium then burns through pycnonuclear triple-alpha and (alpha, gamma) channels until it is exhausted. As the pressure increases under the weight of the accreted gas, the electron Fermi energy becomes large enough for electron capture to increase the neutron fraction in the nuclei. The layer of accreted gas can then become denser than the underlying crust, and the interface is susceptible to elastic Rayleigh-Taylor instability. A crust supported by relativistic electron degeneracy pressure is unstable when the fractional density decrease at the interface exceeds a critical value between 3 and 8 percent, depending upon the composition of the two layers. If the star has a magnetosphere, then this will be excited as well, producing a gamma-ray burst. If a substantial amount of the energy released is converted into heat locally, then the resulting temperature, roughly one billion K, may be hot enough to trigger thermonuclear reactions and raise the total energy release by a factor of about 30. Energetic and statistical implications of the model are critically examined, and some observable consequences are described. The model's sensitive dependence on poorly known pycnonuclear and thermonuclear reaction rates is emphasized.

  8. Carbon synthesis in steady-state hydrogen and helium burning on accreting neutron stars

    SciTech Connect

    Stevens, Jeremy; Brown, Edward F.; Cyburt, Richard; Schatz, Hendrik; Cumming, Andrew

    2014-08-20

    Superbursts from accreting neutron stars probe nuclear reactions at extreme densities (ρ ≈ 10{sup 9} g cm{sup –3}) and temperatures (T > 10{sup 9} K). These bursts (∼1000 times more energetic than type I X-ray bursts) are most likely triggered by unstable ignition of carbon in a sea of heavy nuclei made during the rapid proton capture process (rp-process) of regular type I X-ray bursts (where the accumulated hydrogen and helium are burned). An open question is the origin of sufficient amounts of carbon, which is largely destroyed during the rp-process in X-ray bursts. We explore carbon production in steady-state burning via the rp-process, which might occur together with unstable burning in systems showing superbursts. We find that for a wide range of accretion rates and accreted helium mass fractions large amounts of carbon are produced, even for systems that accrete solar composition. This makes stable hydrogen and helium burning a viable source of carbon to trigger superbursts. We also investigate the sensitivity of the results to nuclear reactions. We find that the {sup 14}O(α, p){sup 17}F reaction rate introduces by far the largest uncertainties in the {sup 12}C yield.

  9. Quiescent emission in accreting neutron star transients: comparing Cen X-4 and the transitional millisecond pulsars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chakrabarty, Deepto

    2016-07-01

    Many accreting neutron star in low-mass X-ray binaries are transient X-ray sources, undergoing bright X-ray outbursts lasting days to weeks alternating with long quiescent intervals lasting months to years. The origin of their faint quiescent power-law X-ray emission has been a longstanding question, with theorists primarily debating between Comptonization and synchrotron shock models. However, recent NuSTAR observations of the nearby source Cen X-4 unexpectedly revealed a bremsstrahlung origin for the quiescent hard X-ray component. I will discuss the implications of this result, and will also compare Cen X-4 with the "transitional" millisecond pulsars, which exhibit markedly different behavior at comparable X-ray luminosities.

  10. Physical processes in the strong magnetic fields of accreting neutron stars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Meszaros, P.

    1984-01-01

    Analytical formulae are fitted to observational data on physical processes occurring in strong magnetic fields surrounding accreting neutron stars. The propagation of normal modes in the presence of a quantizing magnetic field is discussed in terms of a wave equation in Fourier space, quantum electrodynamic effects, polarization and mode ellipticity. The results are applied to calculating the Thomson scattering, bremsstrahlung and Compton scattering cross-sections, which are a function of the frequency, angle and polarization of the magnetic field. Numerical procedures are explored for solving the radiative transfer equations. When applied to modeling X ray pulsars, a problem arises in the necessity to couple the magnetic angle and frequency dependence of the cross-sections with the hydrodynamic equations. The use of time-dependent averaging and approximation techniques is indicated.

  11. Outflows from accretion discs formed in neutron star mergers: effect of black hole spin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fernández, Rodrigo; Kasen, Daniel; Metzger, Brian D.; Quataert, Eliot

    2015-01-01

    The accretion disc that forms after a neutron star merger is a source of neutron-rich ejecta. The ejected material contributes to a radioactively powered electromagnetic transient, with properties that depend sensitively on the composition of the outflow. Here, we investigate how the spin of the black hole (BH) remnant influences mass ejection on the thermal and viscous time-scales. We carry out two-dimensional, time-dependent hydrodynamic simulations of merger remnant accretion discs including viscous angular momentum transport and approximate neutrino self-irradiation. The gravity of the spinning BH is included via a pseudo-Newtonian potential. We find that a disc around a spinning BH ejects more mass, up to a factor of several, relative to the non-spinning case. The enhanced mass-loss is due to energy release by accretion occurring deeper in the gravitational potential, raising the disc temperature and hence the rate of viscous heating in regions where neutrino cooling is ineffective. The mean electron fraction of the outflow increases moderately with BH spin due to a highly irradiated (though not neutrino-driven) wind component. While the bulk of the ejecta is still very neutron-rich, thus generating heavy r-process elements, the leading edge of the wind contains a small amount of Lanthanide-free material. This component can give rise to an ≲1 d blue optical `bump' in a kilonova light curve, even in the case of prompt BH formation, which may facilitate its detection.

  12. ON THE ACCRETION-FED GROWTH OF NEUTRON STARS DURING COMMON ENVELOPE

    SciTech Connect

    MacLeod, Morgan; Ramirez-Ruiz, Enrico

    2015-01-01

    This paper models the orbital inspiral of a neutron star (NS) through the envelope of its giant-branch companion during a common envelope (CE) episode. These CE episodes are necessary to produce close pairs of NSs that can inspiral and merge due to gravitational wave losses in less than a Hubble time. Because cooling by neutrinos can be very efficient, NSs have been predicted to accumulate significant mass during CE events, perhaps enough to lead them to collapse to black holes. We revisit this conclusion with the additional consideration of CE structure, particularly density gradients across the embedded NS's accretion radius. This work is informed by our recent numerical simulations that find that the presence of a density gradient strongly limits accretion by imposing a net angular momentum to the flow around the NS. Our calculations suggest that NSs should survive CE encounters. They accrete only modest amounts of envelope material, ≲ 0.1 M {sub ☉}, which is broadly consistent with mass determinations of double NS binaries. With less mass gain, NSs must spiral deeper to eject their CE, leading to a potential increase in mergers. The survival of NSs in CE events has implications for the formation mechanism of observed double NS binaries, as well as for predicted rates of NS binary gravitational wave inspirals and their electromagnetic counterparts.

  13. The role of magnetic damping in the r-mode evolution of accreting neutron stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cao, GuoJie; Zhou, Xia; Wang, Na

    2015-03-01

    The magnetic damping rate was introduced in the evolution equations of r-modes, which shows that r-modes can generate strong toroidal magnetic fields in the core of accreting millisecond pulsars inducing by differential rotation. With consideration of the coupling evolution of r-modes, spin and thermal evolution, we investigated the influence of the magnetic damping on the differential rotation of nonlinear r-modes of accreting neutron stars. We derived the coupling evolution equations of the star involving the magnetic damping rate in the framework of second-order r-mode theory. The numerical results show that the magnetic damping suppressed the nonlinear evolution of r-modes since the saturation amplitude is reduced to a great extent. In particular, because of the presence of the generated toroidal magnetic field, the spin-down of the stars is terminated and the viscous heating effects are also weakened. Moreover, we could obtain a stronger generated toroidal magnetic field in the second-order r-mode theory. The gravitational radiation may be detected by the advanced laser interferometer detector LIGO if the amount of differential rotation is small when the r-mode instability becomes active and the accretion rate is not very high.

  14. A physical interpretation of the variability power spectral components in accreting neutron stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ingram, Adam; Done, Chris

    2010-07-01

    We propose a physical framework for interpreting the characteristic frequencies seen in the broad-band power spectra from black hole and neutron star binaries. We use the truncated disc/hot inner flow geometry, and assume that the hot flow is generically turbulent. Each radius in the hot flow produces fluctuations, and we further assume that these are damped on the viscous frequency. Integrating over radii gives broad-band continuum noise power between low- and high-frequency breaks which are set by the viscous time-scale at the outer and inner edge of the hot flow, respectively. Lense-Thirring (vertical) precession of the entire hot flow superimposes the low-frequency quasi-periodic oscillation (QPO) on this continuum power. We test this model on the power spectra seen in the neutron star systems (atolls) as these have the key advantage that the (upper) kHz QPO most likely independently tracks the truncation radius. These show that this model can give a consistent solution, with the truncation radius decreasing from 20 to 8Rg while the inner radius of the flow remains approximately constant at ~4.5Rg i.e. 9.2 km. We use this very constrained geometry to predict the low-frequency QPO from Lense-Thirring precession of the entire hot flow from ro to ri. The simplest assumption of a constant surface density in the hot flow matches the observed QPO frequency to within 25 per cent. This match can be made even better by considering that the surface density should become increasingly centrally concentrated as the flow collapses into an optically thick boundary layer during the spectral transition. The success of the model opens up the way to use the broad-band power spectra as a diagnostic of accretion flows in strong gravity.

  15. Disk-accreting magnetic neutron stars as high-energy particle accelerators

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hamilton, Russell J.; Lamb, Frederick K.; Miller, M. Coleman

    1994-01-01

    Interaction of an accretion disk with the magnetic field of a neutron star produces large electromotive forces, which drive large conduction currents in the disk-magnetosphere-star circuit. Here we argue that such large conduction currents will cause microscopic and macroscopic instabilities in the magnetosphere. If the minimum plasma density in the magnetosphere is relatively low is less than or aproximately 10(exp 9)/cu cm, current-driven micro-instabilities may cause relativistic double layers to form, producing voltage differences in excess of 10(exp 12) V and accelerating charged particles to very high energies. If instead the plasma density is higher (is greater than or approximately = 10(exp 9)/cu cm, twisting of the stellar magnetic field is likely to cause magnetic field reconnection. This reconnection will be relativistic, accelerating plasma in the magnetosphere to relativistic speeds and a small fraction of particles to very high energies. Interaction of these high-energy particles with X-rays, gamma-rays, and accreting plasma may produce detectable high-energy radiation.

  16. Dichotomy Between Black Hole and Neutron Star Accretion: Effect of Hard Surface

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dhang, Prasun; Mukhopadhyay, Banibrata; Sharma, Prateek

    2016-07-01

    Estimates of accretion rate on to compact objects have been explored based on the well-known, spherically symmetric, inviscid, steady-state solution given by Bondi. This solution assumes that there is a sink of mass at the center -- which in case of a black hole (BH) corresponds to the advection of matter across the event horizon. Other stars, such as a neutron star (NS), have surfaces and hence the infalling matter has to come to rest at the surface. We study the initial value problem in which the matter distribution is uniform and at rest at time t=0 with different inner radial boundary conditions for BHs and NSs: inflow boundary condition valid for BHs; and reflective or settling boundary condition for NSs. We obtain a similarity solution for the flow with inner inflow and reflective boundary conditions (assuming a cold ambient medium) and compare with numerical simulations of the Euler equations. One-dimensional simulations show the formation of an outward propagating and a standing shock in NS system for reflective and settling boundary conditions respectively. Two-dimensional simulations show that both these flows are unstable (locally to convection and globally to a standing shock instability). Numerical simulations show that in steady state, spherical accretion rate on to a NS for reflective boundary condition is suppressed by orders of magnitude compared to that on to a BH.

  17. Accretion by rotating magnetic neutron stars. III - Accretion torques and period changes in pulsating X-ray sources

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ghosh, P.; Lamb, F. K.

    1979-01-01

    The solutions of the two-dimensional hydromagnetic equations are used to calculate the torque on a magnetic neutron star accreting from a Keplerian disk. It is found that the magnetic coupling between the star and the plasma in the outer transition zone is appreciable; that as a result, the spin-up torque on fast rotators is substantially less than that on slow rotators, and that for sufficiently high stellar angular velocities or sufficiently low mass accretion rates, the rotation of the star can be braked while accretion continues. These results are applied to pulsating X-ray sources, revealing that at high luminosities a star of given spin period rotating in the same direction as the disk can experience either spin-up or spin-down, depending on its luminosity. Also considered are the general problem of interpreting period changes in pulsating X-ray sources, and the dipole magnetic moments of nine pulsating X-ray sources are estimated by fitting the theoretical spin-up equation to estimates of the average luminosity and spin-up rate of each source.

  18. Critical condition for the propeller effect in systems with magnetized neutron stars accreting from geometrically thin accretion disks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ertan, Unal

    2016-07-01

    The inner disk radius around a magnetized neutron star in the spin-down phase is usually assumed to be close to the radius at which the viscous and magnetic stresses are balanced. With different assumptions, this radius is estimated to be very close the Alfven radius. Furthermore, it is commonly assumed that the propeller mechanism can expel the matter from the system when this radius is found to be greater than the co-rotation radius. In the present work, we have shown with simple analytical calculations from the first principles that a steady-state propeller mechanism cannot be established at the radius where the viscous and the magnetic torques are balanced. We have found that a steady-state propeller phase can be built up with an inner disk radius that is at least ~10 - 30 times smaller than the Alfven radius depending on the current mass-flow rate of the disk, the field strength and the rotational period of the source. This result also indicates that the critical accretion rate for the accretion-propeller transition is orders of magnitude smaller than the rate found by equating the Alfven and the co-rotation radii. Our results are consistent with the properties of recently discovered transitional millisecond pulsars which show transitions between the rotational powered radio pulsar and the accretion powered X-ray pulsar states.

  19. Accretion onto magnetized neutron stars - Structure and interchange instability of a model magnetosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Arons, J.; Lea, S. M.

    1976-01-01

    A self-consistent model is analyzed for the spherical infall of weakly magnetized plasma into the magnetosphere of a slowly rotating, strongly magnetized neutron star. It is shown that spherical infall is probably a good approximation for X-ray sources which accrete from a stellar wind. The location of the standoff shock which halts the hypersonic infall is estimated along with the emission from the shocked layer. The location of the equilibrium magnetopause and the structure of the magnetic field within it are calculated; it is found that the magnetic poles are true cusps and that the entry of gas due to equilibrium flow across a cusp is almost certainly dominated by the interchange instability near the magnetic equator. The energy principle is applied to derive necessary conditions for the occurrence of this instability. The results indicate that the strong magnetic-pressure gradient stabilizes the gas unless moderately strong radiative cooling takes place and that the cooled plasma enters the magnetosphere as long filaments capable of moving between field lines. The rate at which the equilibrium magnetopause can 'absorb' mass and momentum is derived, the validity of the approximations employed is discussed, and the likely evolution of the sinking filaments is outlined to show that the spatial distribution of the plasma is determined mainly by the dynamics and thermodynamics of the filaments rather than the magnetic-field structure.

  20. Accretion onto magnetized neutron stars - Normal mode analysis of the interchange instability at the magnetopause

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Arons, J.; Lea, S. M.

    1976-01-01

    Results are reported for a linearized hydromagnetic stability analysis of the magnetopause of an accreting neutron star. The magnetosphere is assumed to be slowly rotating, and the plasma just outside the magnetopause is assumed to be weakly magnetized. The plasma layer is assumed to be bounded above by a shock wave and to be thin compared with the radius of the magnetosphere. Under these circumstances, the growing modes are shown to be localized in the direction parallel to the zero-order magnetic field, but the structure of the modes is still similar to the flute mode. An expression for the growth rate at each magnetic latitude is obtained in terms of the magnitude of the gravitational acceleration normal to the surface, the azimuthal mode number, the radius of the magnetosphere, the height of the shock above the magnetopause, and the effective Atwood number which embodies the stabilizing effects of favorable curvature and magnetic tension. The effective Atwood number is calculated, and the stabilizing effects of viscosity and aligned flow parallel to the magnetopause are discussed.

  1. Spin evolution of accreting neutron stars: Nonlinear development of the r-mode instability

    SciTech Connect

    Bondarescu, Ruxandra; Teukolsky, Saul A.; Wasserman, Ira

    2007-09-15

    The nonlinear saturation of the r-mode instability and its effects on the spin evolution of low mass x-ray binaries (LMXBs) are modeled using the triplet of modes at the lowest parametric instability threshold. We solve numerically the coupled equations for the three modes in conjunction with the spin and temperature evolution equations. We observe that very quickly the mode amplitudes settle into quasistationary states that change slowly as the temperature and spin of the star evolve. Once these states are reached, the mode amplitudes can be found algebraically and the system of equations is reduced from eight to two equations: spin and temperature evolution. The evolution of the neutron star angular velocity and temperature follow easily calculated trajectories along these sequences of quasistationary states. The outcome depends on whether or not the star will reach thermal equilibrium, where the viscous heating by the three modes is equal to the neutrino cooling (H=C curve). If, when the r-mode becomes unstable, the star spins at a frequency below the maximum of the H=C curve, then it will reach a state of thermal equilibrium. It can then either (1) undergo a cyclic evolution with a small cycle size with a frequency change of at most 10% (2) evolve toward a full equilibrium state in which the accretion torque balances the gravitational radiation emission, or (3) enter a thermogravitational runaway on a very long time scale of {approx_equal}10{sup 6} years. If the star does not reach a state of thermal equilibrium, then a faster thermal runaway (time scale of {approx_equal}100 years) occurs and the r-mode amplitude increases above the second parametric instability threshold. Following this evolution requires more inertial modes to be included. The sources of damping considered are shear viscosity, hyperon bulk viscosity, and viscosity within the core-crust boundary layer. We vary proprieties of the star such as the hyperon superfluid transition temperature T

  2. Spin evolution of accreting neutron stars: Nonlinear development of the r-mode instability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bondarescu, Ruxandra; Teukolsky, Saul A.; Wasserman, Ira

    2007-09-01

    The nonlinear saturation of the r-mode instability and its effects on the spin evolution of low mass x-ray binaries (LMXBs) are modeled using the triplet of modes at the lowest parametric instability threshold. We solve numerically the coupled equations for the three modes in conjunction with the spin and temperature evolution equations. We observe that very quickly the mode amplitudes settle into quasistationary states that change slowly as the temperature and spin of the star evolve. Once these states are reached, the mode amplitudes can be found algebraically and the system of equations is reduced from eight to two equations: spin and temperature evolution. The evolution of the neutron star angular velocity and temperature follow easily calculated trajectories along these sequences of quasistationary states. The outcome depends on whether or not the star will reach thermal equilibrium, where the viscous heating by the three modes is equal to the neutrino cooling (H=C curve). If, when the r-mode becomes unstable, the star spins at a frequency below the maximum of the H=C curve, then it will reach a state of thermal equilibrium. It can then either (1) undergo a cyclic evolution with a small cycle size with a frequency change of at most 10%, (2) evolve toward a full equilibrium state in which the accretion torque balances the gravitational radiation emission, or (3) enter a thermogravitational runaway on a very long time scale of ≈106years. If the star does not reach a state of thermal equilibrium, then a faster thermal runaway (time scale of ≈100years) occurs and the r-mode amplitude increases above the second parametric instability threshold. Following this evolution requires more inertial modes to be included. The sources of damping considered are shear viscosity, hyperon bulk viscosity, and viscosity within the core-crust boundary layer. We vary proprieties of the star such as the hyperon superfluid transition temperature Tc, the fraction of the star that

  3. An Investigation of Luminous X-Ray Pulsars: Exploring Accretion Onto the Magnetized Neutron Star LMC X-4

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brumback, McKinley

    2016-04-01

    X-ray pulsars are neutron stars in which magnetic forces dominate accretion within the magnetosphere. These systems offer unique laboratories to study magnetic accretion and the behavior of matter under extreme densities, magnetic fields, and gravitational forces. Using joint observations with NuSTAR and XMM-Newton, we observe the complete precession of the warped accretion disk around the X-ray pulsar LMC X-4, and measure the relative phase between the pulsar beam and the softer X-ray photons reprocessed by the disk. This allows us to perform tomography to explore the inner magnetized accretion flow. Additionally, we investigate the unusual flaring events observed from LMC X-4 during October and November of 2015.

  4. Numerical Solution of the Radiative Transfer Equation: X-Ray Spectral Formation from Cylindrical Accretion onto a Magnetized Neutron Star

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fairnelli, R.; Ceccobello, C.; Romano, P.; Titarchuk, L.

    2011-01-01

    Predicting the emerging X-ray spectra in several astrophysical objects is of great importance, in particular when the observational data are compared with theoretical models. This requires developing numerical routines for the solution of the radiative transfer equation according to the expected physical conditions of the systems under study. Aims. We have developed an algorithm solving the radiative transfer equation in the Fokker-Planck approximation when both thermal and bulk Comptonization take place. The algorithm is essentially a relaxation method, where stable solutions are obtained when the system has reached its steady-state equilibrium. Methods. We obtained the solution of the radiative transfer equation in the two-dimensional domain defined by the photon energy E and optical depth of the system pi using finite-differences for the partial derivatives, and imposing specific boundary conditions for the solutions. We treated the case of cylindrical accretion onto a magnetized neutron star. Results. We considered a blackbody seed spectrum of photons with exponential distribution across the accretion column and for an accretion where the velocity reaches its maximum at the stellar surface and at the top of the accretion column, respectively. In both cases higher values of the electron temperature and of the optical depth pi produce flatter and harder spectra. Other parameters contributing to the spectral formation are the steepness of the vertical velocity profile, the albedo at the star surface, and the radius of the accretion column. The latter parameter modifies the emerging spectra in a specular way for the two assumed accretion profiles. Conclusions. The algorithm has been implemented in the XPEC package for X-ray fitting and is specifically dedicated to the physical framework of accretion at the polar cap of a neutron star with a high magnetic field (approx > 10(exp 12) G). This latter case is expected to be of typical accreting systems such as X

  5. The fate of accreted CNO elements in neutron star atmospheres - X-ray bursts and gamma-ray lines

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bildstein, Lars; Salpeter, Edwin E.; Wasserman, Ira

    1992-01-01

    The fate of incident C-12, N-14, and O-16 in accreting neutron star atmospheres is described. When the accreting material is stopped by Coulomb collisions with atmospheric electrons, all incoming elements heavier than helium thermalize at higher altitudes in the atmosphere than the accreting protons. The incoming protons and helium then destroy the elements via nuclear spallation reactions. A small fraction of the nuclear reactions cause nuclear excitation and subsequent gamma-ray emission. The probability for a nucleus to survive this bombardment depends on how long it spends in the hazardous region of the atmosphere. The fractions of incident C-12, N-14, and O-16 that survive proton bombardment are calculated as a function of the accretion rate, and the mass and radius of the neutron star. The subsequent paucity of CNO nuclei decreases hydrogen-burning rates in the deep regions of the atmosphere, thereby reducing the amount of helium available for the unstable nuclear flashes that cause type I X-ray bursts. The gamma-ray line emission from this collisional deceleration scenario is determined.

  6. On the maximum accretion luminosity of magnetized neutron stars: connecting X-ray pulsars and ultraluminous X-ray sources

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mushtukov, Alexander A.; Suleimanov, Valery F.; Tsygankov, Sergey S.; Poutanen, Juri

    2015-12-01

    We study properties of luminous X-ray pulsars using a simplified model of the accretion column. The maximal possible luminosity is calculated as a function of the neutron star (NS) magnetic field and spin period. It is shown that the luminosity can reach values of the order of 1040 erg s-1 for the magnetar-like magnetic field (B ≳ 1014 G) and long spin periods (P ≳ 1.5 s). The relative narrowness of an area of feasible NS parameters which are able to provide higher luminosities leads to the conclusion that L ≃ 1040 erg s-1 is a good estimate for the limiting accretion luminosity of an NS. Because this luminosity coincides with the cut-off observed in the high-mass X-ray binaries luminosity function which otherwise does not show any features at lower luminosities, we can conclude that a substantial part of ultraluminous X-ray sources are accreting neutron stars in binary systems.

  7. Neutron Star Mass Distribution in Binaries

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, Chang-Hwan; Kim, Young-Min

    2016-05-01

    Massive neutron stars with ∼ 2Mʘ have been observed in neutron star-white dwarf binaries. On the other hand, well-measured neutron star masses in double-neutron-star binaries are still consistent with the limit of 1.5Mʘ. These observations raised questions on the neutron star equations of state and the neutron star binary evolution processes. In this presentation, a hypothesis of super-Eddington accretion and its implications are discussed. We argue that a 2Mʘ neutron star is an outcome of the super-Eddington accretion during the evolution of neutron star-white dwarf binary progenitors. We also suggest the possibility of the existence of new type of neutron star binary which consists of a typical neutron star and a massive compact companion (high-mass neutron star or black hole) with M ≥ 2Mʘ.

  8. Probing the effects of a thermonuclear X-ray burst on the neutron star accretion flow with NuSTAR

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Degenaar, N.; Koljonen, K. I. I.; Chakrabarty, D.; Kara, E.; Altamirano, D.; Miller, J. M.; Fabian, A. C.

    2016-03-01

    Observational evidence has been accumulating that thermonuclear X-ray bursts ignited on the surface of neutron stars influence the surrounding accretion flow. Here, we exploit the excellent sensitivity of NuSTAR up to 79 keV to analyse the impact of an X-ray burst on the accretion emission of the neutron star LMXB 4U 1608-52. The ≃200 s long X-ray burst occurred during a hard X-ray spectral state, and had a peak intensity of ≃30-50 per cent of the Eddington limit with no signs of photospheric radius expansion. Spectral analysis suggests that the accretion emission was enhanced up to a factor of ≃5 during the X-ray burst. We also applied a linear unsupervised decomposition method, namely non-negative matrix factorization (NMF), to study this X-ray burst. We find that the NMF performs well in characterizing the evolution of the burst emission and is a promising technique to study changes in the underlying accretion emission in more detail than is possible through conventional spectral fitting. For the burst of 4U 1608-52, the NMF suggests a possible softening of the accretion spectrum during the X-ray burst, which could potentially be ascribed to cooling of a corona. Finally, we report a small (≃3 per cent) but significant rise in the accretion emission ≃0.5 h before the X-ray burst, although it is unclear whether this was related to the X-ray burst ignition.

  9. Accreting neutron stars in highly compact binary systems and the nature of 3U 1626-67

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Joss, P. C.; Avni, Y.; Rappaport, S.

    1978-01-01

    We discuss the existence of pulsing X-ray sources that consist of neutron stars in highly compact binary systems (orbital periods not more than Od3), undergoing accretion from low-mass late-type dwarf or degenerate-dwarf companions. An appropriate mass transfer rate can be driven by the decay of the orbit due to gravitational radiation, a self-excited wind, and/or the evolution of the companion. Such a system may result from the evolution of a cataclysmic variable, wherein a degenerate dwarf collapses to form a neutron star after accreting sufficient mass to exceed the Chandrasekhar limit. We apply this model to the 7s7 X-ray pulsar 3U 1626-67, and demonstrate that it can explain the apparent lack of Doppler shifts in the X-ray pulsations from this source. The model may also account for other observed properties of the source, including (1) the apparent faintness and large ultraviolet excess of the optical counterpart, (2) the lack of X-ray eclipses, and (3) an approximately 1000 s quasi-periodic oscillation in the source intensity that was recently observed with the SAS 3 satellite.

  10. Contrasting Behaviour from Two Be/X-ray Binary Pulsars: Insights into Differing Neutron Star Accretion Modes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Townsend, L. J.; Drave, S. P.; Hill, A. B.; Coe, M. J.; Corbet, R. H. D.; Bird, A. J.

    2013-01-01

    In this paper we present the identification of two periodic X-ray signals coming from the direction of the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC). On detection with the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE), the 175.4 s and 85.4 s pulsations were considered to originate from new Be/X-ray binary (BeXRB) pulsars with unknown locations. Using rapid follow-up INTEGRAL and XMM-Newton observations, we show the first pulsar (designated SXP175) to be coincident with a candidate high-mass X-ray binary (HMXB) in the northern bar region of the SMC undergoing a small Type II outburst. The orbital period (87d) and spectral class (B0-B0.5IIIe) of this system are determined and presented here for the first time. The second pulsar is shown not to be new at all, but is consistent with being SXP91.1 - a pulsar discovered at the very beginning of the 13 year long RXTE key monitoring programme of the SMC. Whilst it is theoretically possible for accreting neutron stars to change spin period so dramatically over such a short time, the X-ray and optical data available for this source suggest this spin-up is continuous during long phases of X-ray quiescence, where accretion driven spin-up of the neutron star should be minimal.

  11. A connection between accretion state and Fe K absorption in an accreting neutron star: black hole-like soft-state winds?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ponti, Gabriele; Muñoz-Darias, Teodoro; Fender, Robert P.

    2014-10-01

    High-resolution X-ray spectra of accreting stellar-mass black holes reveal the presence of accretion disc winds, traced by high-ionization Fe K lines. These winds appear to have an equatorial geometry and to be observed only during disc-dominated states in which the radio jet is absent. Accreting neutron star systems also show equatorial high-ionization absorbers. However, the presence of any correlation with the accretion state has not been previously tested. We have studied EXO 0748-676, a transient neutron star system, for which we can reliably determine the accretion state, in order to investigate the Fe K absorption/accretion state/jet connection. Not one of 20 X-ray spectra obtained in the hard state revealed any significant Fe K absorption line. However, intense Fe XXV and Fe XXVI (as well as a rarely observed Fe XXIII line plus S XVI; a blend of S XVI and Ar XVII; Ca XX and Ca XIX, possibly produced by the same high-ionization material) absorption lines (EW_{Fe {XXIII-XXV}}=31± 3, EW_{Fe {XXVI}}=8± 3 eV) are clearly detected during the only soft-state observation. This suggests that the connection between Fe K absorption and states (and anticorrelation between the presence of Fe K absorption and jets) is also valid for EXO 0748-676 and therefore it is not a unique property of black hole systems but a more general characteristic of accreting sources.

  12. The effect of accretion on the measurement of neutron star mass and radius in the low-mass X-ray binary 4U 1608-52

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Poutanen, Juri; Nättilä, Joonas; Kajava, Jari J. E.; Latvala, Outi-Marja; Galloway, Duncan K.; Kuulkers, Erik; Suleimanov, Valery F.

    2014-08-01

    Spectral measurements of thermonuclear (type I) X-ray bursts from low-mass X-ray binaries have been used to measure neutron star (NS) masses and radii. A number of systematic issues affect such measurements and have raised concerns as to the robustness of the methods. We present analysis of the X-ray emission from bursts observed from 4U 1608-52 at various persistent fluxes. We find a strong dependence of the burst properties on the flux and spectral hardness of the persistent emission before burst. Bursts occurring during the low accretion rate (hard) state exhibit evolution of the blackbody normalization consistent with the theoretical predictions of NS atmosphere models. However, bursts occurring during the high accretion rate (soft) state show roughly constant normalization, which is inconsistent with the NS atmosphere models and therefore these bursts cannot be easily used to determine NS parameters. We analyse the hard-state burst to put the lower limit on the NS radius R in 4U 1608-52 of 12 km (for masses 1.0-2.4 M⊙). We constrain R to be between 13 and 16 km for masses 1.2-1.6 M⊙. The best agreement with the theoretical NS mass-radius relations is achieved for source distances in the range 3.1-3.7 kpc. We expect that the radius limit will be 10 per cent lower if spectral models including rapid rotation are used instead.

  13. Production of the entire range of r-process nuclides by black hole accretion disk outflows from neutron star mergers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wu, Meng-Ru; Fernández, Rodrigo; Martínez-Pinedo, Gabriel; Metzger, Brian D.

    2016-08-01

    We consider r-process nucleosynthesis in outflows from black hole accretion disks formed in double neutron star and neutron star - black hole mergers. These outflows, powered by angular momentum transport processes and nuclear recombination, represent an important - and in some cases dominant - contribution to the total mass ejected by the merger. Here we calculate the nucleosynthesis yields from disk outflows using thermodynamic trajectories from hydrodynamic simulations, coupled to a nuclear reaction network. We find that outflows produce a robust abundance pattern around the second r-process peak (mass number A ˜ 130), independent of model parameters, with significant production of A < 130 nuclei. This implies that dynamical ejecta with high electron fraction may not be required to explain the observed abundances of r-process elements in metal poor stars. Disk outflows reach the third peak (A ˜ 195) in most of our simulations, although the amounts produced depend sensitively on the disk viscosity, initial mass or entropy of the torus, and nuclear physics inputs. Some of our models produce an abundance spike at A = 132 that is absent in the Solar System r-process distribution. The spike arises from convection in the disk and depends on the treatment of nuclear heating in the simulations. We conclude that disk outflows provide an important - and perhaps dominant - contribution to the r-process yields of compact binary mergers, and hence must be included when assessing the contribution of these systems to the inventory of r-process elements in the Galaxy.

  14. POPULATION SYNTHESIS OF YOUNG ISOLATED NEUTRON STARS: THE EFFECT OF FALLBACK DISK ACCRETION AND MAGNETIC FIELD EVOLUTION

    SciTech Connect

    Fu, Lei; Li, Xiang-Dong

    2013-10-01

    The spin evolution of isolated neutron stars (NSs) is dominated by their magnetic fields. The measured braking indices of young NSs show that the spin-down mechanism due to magnetic dipole radiation with constant magnetic fields is inadequate. Assuming that the NS magnetic field is buried by supernova fallback matter and re-emerges after accretion stops, we carry out a Monte Carlo simulation of the evolution of young NSs, and show that most of the pulsars have braking indices ranging from –1 to 3. The results are compatible with the observational data of NSs associated with supernova remnants. They also suggest that the initial spin periods of NSs might occupy a relatively wide range.

  15. Dynamical stability of nascent neutron stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Yuk Tung

    This thesis presents a study of the dynamical stability of nascent neutron stars resulting from the accretion induced collapse of rapidly rotating white dwarfs. Chapter 2 and part of Chapter 3 study the equilibrium models for these neutron stars. They are constructed by assuming that the neutron stars have the same masses, angular momenta, and specific angular momentum distributions as the pre-collapse white dwarfs. If the pre-collapse white dwarf is rapidly rotating, the collapsed object will contain a high density central core of size about 20 km, surrounded by a massive accretion torus extending to hundreds of kilometers from the rotation axis. The ratio of the rotational kinetic energy to gravitational binding energy, β, of these neutron stars is all found to be less than 0.27. Chapter 3 studies the dynamical stability of these neutron stars by numerically evolving the linearized hydrodynamical equations. A dynamical bar-mode instability is observed when the β of the star is greater than the critical value β d ≈ 0.25. It is expected that the unstable mode will persist until a substantial amount of angular momentum is carried away by gravitational radiation. The detectability of these sources is studied and it is estimated that LIGO II is unlikely to detect them unless the event rate is greater than 10-6/year/galaxy. All the calculations on the structure and stability of the neutron stars in Chapters 2 and 3 are carried out using Newtonian hydrodynamics and gravity. Chapter 4 studies the relativistic effects on the structure of these neutron stars. New techniques are developed and used to construct neutron star models to the first post- Newtonian (1PN) order. The structures of the ON models are qualitatively similar to the corresponding Newtonian models, but the values of β are somewhat smaller. The maximum β for these ON neutron stars is found to be 0.24, which is 8% smaller than the Newtonian result (0.26). However, relativistic effects will also change

  16. Study of magnetic field effects for accretions with highly magnetized neutron stars in low mass X-ray binaries

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sasano, Makoto; Enoto, Teruaki; Makishima, Kazuo; Sakurai, Soki

    Neutron stars (NSs) in high-mass X-ray binaries (HMXBs), namely those with massive privary stars, generally have strong magnetic fields (˜10 (12) G). In contrast, those in typical low mass binary systems (LMXBs) are weakly magnetized (˜10 (9-10) G). This clear difference in the magnetic field strength is considered to be primarily responsible for the systematic differences in X-ray properties between NSs in HMXBs and those in LMXBs. However, these can also be possible contributions from their accretion-scheme differences, i.e., wind capture in HMXBs and disk accretion in LMXBs. To separate these two effects, we may utilize a few highly-magnetized NSs in LMXBs, including Her X-1, GX 1+4, 4U 1626-67, and a recently recognized object 4U 1822-37 (Sasano et al. PASJ in press, arXiv:1311.4618). In this study, we compare spectral and timing properties of these exceptional strong-field NSs, with those of more typical objects in LMXBs an HMXBs. Their properties that are common with typical HMXBs can be regarded as a signature of strong magnetic fields while those shared by typical LMXBs can be attributed to the disk-fed accretion geometry.

  17. The Thermal Evolution following a Superburst on an Accreting Neutron Star

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cumming, Andrew; Macbeth, Jared

    2004-03-01

    Superbursts are very energetic type I X-ray bursts discovered in recent years by long-term monitoring of X-ray bursters and are believed to be due to unstable ignition of carbon in the deep ocean of the neutron star. In this Letter, we follow the thermal evolution of the surface layers as they cool following the burst. The resulting light curves agree very well with observations for layer masses in the range 1025-1026 g expected from ignition calculations and for an energy release >~1017 ergs g-1 during the flash. We show that at late times the cooling flux from the layer decays as a power law F~t-4/3, giving timescales for quenching of normal type I bursting of weeks, in good agreement with observational limits. We show that simultaneous modeling of superburst light curves and quenching times promises to constrain both the thickness of the fuel layer and the energy deposited.

  18. Neutron Reactions in Accreting Neutron Stars: A New Pathway to Efficient Crust Heating

    SciTech Connect

    Gupta, Sanjib S.; Kawano, Toshihiko; Moeller, Peter

    2008-12-05

    In our calculation of neutron star crust heating we include several key new model features. In earlier work electron capture (EC) only allowed neutron emission from the daughter ground state; here we calculate, in a deformed quasi-random-phase approximation (QRPA) model, EC decay rates to all states in the daughter that are allowed by Gamow-Teller selection rules and energetics. The subsequent branching ratios between the 1n,...,xn channels and the competing {gamma} decay are calculated in a Hauser-Feshbach model. In our multicomponent plasma model a single (EC, xn) reaction step can produce several neutron-deficient nuclei, each of which can further decay by (EC, xn). Hence, the neutron emission occurs more continuously with increasing depth as compared to that in a one-component plasma model.

  19. Period variations in pulsating X-ray sources. I - Accretion flow parameters and neutron star structure from timing observations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lamb, F. K.; Shaham, J.; Pines, D.

    1978-01-01

    Torque fluctuations which can lead to variations in the periods of pulsating X-ray sources are examined. A description of torque variations in terms of noise processes is developed, and the resulting noise models are applied to observations of several pulsating X-ray sources. It is shown that fluctuations in accretion torque could account for the observed period variations and spindown episodes in Her X-1 and Cen X-3. The values of the torque noise strengths inferred from either a nonresonant response or, in the case of Her X-1, a Tkachenko-mode interpretation of the data are found to be consistent with those expected from processes at the magnetospheric boundary of an accreting neutron star. Ways to distinguish among the various interpretations of the period variations are considered. It is noted that fluctuating mass-flow rates may be responsible for other phenomena observed in compact X-ray sources, such as wobble with zero initial amplitude and binary period variations in close binary systems experiencing mass transfer.

  20. The physics of neutron stars.

    PubMed

    Lattimer, J M; Prakash, M

    2004-04-23

    Neutron stars are some of the densest manifestations of massive objects in the universe. They are ideal astrophysical laboratories for testing theories of dense matter physics and provide connections among nuclear physics, particle physics, and astrophysics. Neutron stars may exhibit conditions and phenomena not observed elsewhere, such as hyperon-dominated matter, deconfined quark matter, superfluidity and superconductivity with critical temperatures near 10(10) kelvin, opaqueness to neutrinos, and magnetic fields in excess of 10(13) Gauss. Here, we describe the formation, structure, internal composition, and evolution of neutron stars. Observations that include studies of pulsars in binary systems, thermal emission from isolated neutron stars, glitches from pulsars, and quasi-periodic oscillations from accreting neutron stars provide information about neutron star masses, radii, temperatures, ages, and internal compositions. PMID:15105490

  1. A DIRECT MEASUREMENT OF THE HEAT RELEASE IN THE OUTER CRUST OF THE TRANSIENTLY ACCRETING NEUTRON STAR XTE J1709-267

    SciTech Connect

    Degenaar, N.; Miller, J. M.; Wijnands, R.

    2013-04-20

    The heating and cooling of transiently accreting neutron stars provides a powerful probe of the structure and composition of their crust. Observations of superbursts and cooling of accretion-heated neutron stars require more heat release than is accounted for in current models. Obtaining firm constraints on the depth and magnitude of this extra heat is challenging and therefore its origin remains uncertain. We report on Swift and XMM-Newton observations of the transient neutron star low-mass X-ray binary XTE J1709-267, which were made in 2012 September-October when it transitioned to quiescence after a {approx_equal}10 week long accretion outburst. The source is detected with XMM-Newton at a 0.5-10 keV luminosity of L{sub X} {approx_equal} 2 Multiplication-Sign 10{sup 34}(D/8.5 kpc){sup 2} erg s{sup -1}. The X-ray spectrum consists of a thermal component that fits to a neutron star atmosphere model and a non-thermal emission tail, each of which contribute {approx_equal}50% to the total flux. The neutron star temperature decreases from {approx_equal}158 to {approx_equal}152 eV during the {approx_equal}8 hr long observation. This can be interpreted as cooling of a crustal layer located at a column density of y {approx_equal} 5 Multiplication-Sign 10{sup 12} g cm{sup -2} ({approx_equal}50 m inside the neutron star), which is just below the ignition depth of superbursts. The required heat generation in the layers on top would be {approx_equal}0.06-0.13 MeV per accreted nucleon. The magnitude and depth rule out electron captures and nuclear fusion reactions as the heat source, but it may be accounted for by chemical separation of light and heavy nuclei. Low-level accretion offers an alternative explanation for the observed variability.

  2. Persistent Patterns in Accretion Disks

    SciTech Connect

    Amin, Mustafa A.; Frolov, Andrei V.; /KIPAC, Menlo Park

    2006-04-03

    We present a set of new characteristic frequencies associated with accretion disks around compact objects. These frequencies arise from persistent rotating patterns in the disk that are finite in radial extent and driven purely by the gravity of the central body. Their existence depends on general relativistic corrections to orbital motion and, if observed, could be used to probe the strong gravity region around a black hole. We also discuss a possible connection to the puzzle of quasi-periodic oscillations.

  3. Time-dependent two-dimensional radiation hydrodynamics of accreting matter onto highly magnetized neutron stars

    SciTech Connect

    Klein, R.I. . Dept. of Astronomy Lawrence Livermore National Lab., CA California Univ., Los Angeles, CA . Inst. of Geophysics and Planetary Physics); Arons, J. . Dept. of Astronomy California Univ., Los Angeles, CA . Inst. of Geophysics and Planetary Physics CEA Centre d'Etudes Nucleaires de Saclay, 91 -

    1989-11-24

    We present for the first time, the self-consistent solution of the two-dimensional, time-dependent equations of radiation-hydrodynamics governing the accretion of matter onto the highly magnetized polar caps of luminous x-ray pulsars. The calculations show a structure in the accretion column very different from previous one-zone uniform models. We have included all the relevant magnetic field corrections to both the hydrodynamics and the radiative transport. We include a new theory for the diffusion and advection of both radiation energy density and photon number density. For initially uniformly accreting models with super-Eddington flows, we have uncovered evidence of strong radiation-driven outflowing optically thin radiation filled regions of the accretion column embedded in optically-thick inflowing plasma. The development of these photon bubbles'' have growth times on the order of a millisecond and show fluctuations on sub-millisecond timescales. The photon bubbles are likely to be a consequence of convective over-stability and may result in observable fluctuations in the emitted luminosity leading to luminosity dependent changes in the pulse profile. This may provide important new diagnostics for conditions in accreting x-ray pulsars. 13 refs., 18 figs.

  4. Time-dependent two-dimensional radiation hydrodynamics of accreting matter onto highly magnetized neutron stars

    SciTech Connect

    Klein, R.I. . Dept. of Astronomy Lawrence Livermore National Lab., CA ); Arons, J. . Dept. of Astronomy California Univ., Berkeley, CA . Dept. of Physics)

    1990-11-20

    We present for the first time, the self-consistent solution of the two-dimensional, time-dependent equations of radiation-hydrodynamics governing the accretion of matter onto the highly magnetized polar caps of luminous x-ray pulsars. The calculations show a structure in the accretion column very different from previous one-zone uniform models. We have included all the relevant magnetic field corrections to both the hydrodynamics and the radiative transport. We include a new theory for the diffusion and advection of both radiation energy density and photon number density. For initially uniformly accreting models with super-Eddington flows, we have uncovered evidence of strong radiation-driven outflowing optically thin radiation filled regions of the accretion column embedded in optically-thick inflowing plasma. We follow the evolution of these photon bubbles for several dynamical timescales. The development of these photon bubbles'' indicates growth times on the order of a millisecond and show fluctuations on sub-millisecond timescales in agreement with a linear stability analysis. The photon bubbles are a consequence of the effect of radiative heat flux on the internal gravity waves in the strongly magnetized atmosphere and may result in observable fluctuations in the emitted luminosity leading to luminosity dependent changes in the pulse profile. This may provide important new diagnostics for conditions in accreting x-ray pulsars. 19 refs., 13 figs.

  5. The neutron star zoo

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harding, Alice K.

    2013-12-01

    Neutron stars are a very diverse population, both in their observational and their physical properties. They prefer to radiate most of their energy at X-ray and gamma-ray wavelengths. But whether their emission is powered by rotation, accretion, heat, magnetic fields or nuclear reactions, they are all different species of the same animal whose magnetic field evolution and interior composition remain a mystery. This article will broadly review the properties of inhabitants of the neutron star zoo, with emphasis on their high-energy emission.

  6. X-ray and optical observations of accreting neutron stars and black holes and the construction and testing of the stellar x-ray polarimeter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tomsick, John Allen

    1999-10-01

    In the first part of this thesis, I present results from observations of accreting neutron stars and black hole candidates (BHCs). Through measurements of the physical parameters of neutron stars, including the mass, spin period and magnetic field strength, accreting neutron stars provide an opportunity to learn about matter at extremely high densities and in strong magnetic fields. Here, I study the neutron star X-ray binary XTE J2123-058. X-ray observations are used to estimate the neutron star spin period and magnetic field strength, and the measured spin period of 3.9 ms has implications for neutron star evolution. Results of optical observations provide some of the information necessary to eventually determine the neutron star mass. For BHC X-ray binaries, demonstrating the existence of the event horizon and measuring physical parameters of black holes are of great interest. In order to make progress toward these goals, it is necessary to understand the accretion processes and emission mechanisms that operate in these systems. For some accreting compact objects, significant changes in the X- ray emission properties are observed over time. Here, I study the changes in X-ray emission properties that occurred over three months for an accreting BHC, 4U 1630-47. I also include a study of sharp drops in the 4U 1630-47 X-ray flux (i.e. X-ray dips). X-ray dips provide an opportunity to constrain the sizes of the X-ray emission regions. The 4U 1630-47 X-ray dips provide evidence that one of the two X-ray emission components comes from within ten Schwarzschild radii of the compact object. In the second part of this thesis, I describe work I have done on the Stellar X-Ray Polarimeter (SXRP). The SXRP will be more than an order of magnitude more sensitive than any previous X-ray polarimeter in the 2-15 keV energy band and is expected to increase the number of sources with X-ray polarization detections from one, the Crab Nebula, to between 20 and 30. X-ray binaries will be

  7. Study of the reflection spectrum of the accreting neutron star GX 3+1 using XMM-Newton and INTEGRAL

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pintore, F.; Di Salvo, T.; Bozzo, E.; Sanna, A.; Burderi, L.; D'Aì, A.; Riggio, A.; Scarano, F.; Iaria, R.

    2015-06-01

    Broad emission features of abundant chemical elements, such as iron, are commonly seen in the X-ray spectra of accreting compact objects and their studies can provide useful information about the geometry of the accretion processes. In this work, we focus our attention on GX 3+1, a bright, persistent accreting low-mass X-ray binary, classified as an atoll source. Its spectrum is well described by an accretion disc plus a stable Comptonizing, optically thick corona which dominates the X-ray emission in the 0.3-20 keV energy band. In addition, four broad emission lines are found and we associate them with reflection of hard photons from the inner regions of the accretion disc, where Doppler and relativistic effects are important. We used self-consistent reflection models to fit the spectra of the 2010 XMM-Newton observation and the stacking of the whole data sets of 2010 INTEGRAL observations. We conclude that the spectra are consistent with reflection produced at ˜10 gravitational radii by an accretion disc with an ionization parameter of ξ ˜ 600 erg cm s-1 and viewed under an inclination angle of the system of ˜35°. Furthermore, we detected for the first time for GX 3+1, the presence of a power-law component dominant at energies higher than 20 keV, possibly associated with an optically thin component of non-thermal electrons.

  8. QPO Constraints on Neutron Stars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Miller, M. Coleman

    2005-01-01

    The kilohertz frequencies of QPOs from accreting neutron star systems imply that they are generated in regions of strong gravity, close to the star. This suggests that observations of the QPOs can be used to constrain the properties of neutron stars themselves, and in particular to inform us about the properties of cold matter beyond nuclear densities. Here we discuss some relatively model-insensitive constraints that emerge from the kilohertz QPOs, as well as recent developments that may hint at phenomena related to unstable circular orbits outside neutron stars.

  9. What ASTROSAT and ASTRO-H together can do to understand accreting neutron stars and black holes?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dotani, Tadayasu

    2012-07-01

    with the flares. It is known that the line profile can be an effective tool to probe the strong gravity near the black hole and its spin. Similar analysis may be possible even for the stellar mass black holes, like Cyg X-1. I would like to cover several specific phenomena where the time-resolved spectroscopy with ASTROSAT and ASTRO-H can be a powerful tool to study the accreting black holes and neutron stars in my talk.

  10. Time-of-flight mass measurements of neutron-rich chromium isotopes up to N =40 and implications for the accreted neutron star crust

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meisel, Z.; George, S.; Ahn, S.; Bazin, D.; Brown, B. A.; Browne, J.; Carpino, J. F.; Chung, H.; Cyburt, R. H.; Estradé, A.; Famiano, M.; Gade, A.; Langer, C.; Matoš, M.; Mittig, W.; Montes, F.; Morrissey, D. J.; Pereira, J.; Schatz, H.; Schatz, J.; Scott, M.; Shapira, D.; Sieja, K.; Smith, K.; Stevens, J.; Tan, W.; Tarasov, O.; Towers, S.; Wimmer, K.; Winkelbauer, J. R.; Yurkon, J.; Zegers, R. G. T.

    2016-03-01

    We present the mass excesses of Cr-6459, obtained from recent time-of-flight nuclear mass measurements at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory at Michigan State University. The mass of 64Cr is determined for the first time, with an atomic mass excess of -33.48 (44 ) MeV. We find a significantly different two-neutron separation energy S2 n trend for neutron-rich isotopes of chromium, removing the previously observed enhancement in binding at N =38 . Additionally, we extend the S2 n trend for chromium to N =40 , revealing behavior consistent with the previously identified island of inversion in this region. We compare our results to state-of-the-art shell-model calculations performed with a modified Lenzi-Nowacki-Poves-Sieja interaction in the f p shell, including the g9 /2 and d5 /2 orbits for the neutron valence space. We employ our result for the mass of 64Cr in accreted neutron star crust network calculations and find a reduction in the strength and depth of electron-capture heating from the A =64 isobaric chain, resulting in a cooler than expected accreted neutron star crust. This reduced heating is found to be due to the >1 -MeV reduction in binding for 64Cr with respect to values from commonly used global mass models.

  11. Thermonuclear flashes in the envelopes of accreting hot neutron stars. II. M = 10/sup 16/, 10/sup 18/ g/sec

    SciTech Connect

    Kudryashov, A.D.; Ergma, V.

    1983-11-01

    The results of calculations of the accretion of matter and the subsequent flash at the surface of a hot neutron star for accretion rates of 10/sup 16/< or =M< or =10/sup 18/ g/sec are presented. It is found that a helium layer is formed for M< or approx. =M/sub c//sub r/approx. =4x10/sup 16/ g/sec. Hydrogen--helium flashes occur for M>M/sub c//sub r/. The connection between the different types of flashes and the observed properties of bursters and fast transients is discussed. The results are compared with observations of the burster XB 1608-522.

  12. Mass Measurement of 56Sc Reveals a Small A =56 Odd-Even Mass Staggering, Implying a Cooler Accreted Neutron Star Crust

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meisel, Z.; George, S.; Ahn, S.; Bazin, D.; Brown, B. A.; Browne, J.; Carpino, J. F.; Chung, H.; Cole, A. L.; Cyburt, R. H.; Estradé, A.; Famiano, M.; Gade, A.; Langer, C.; Matoš, M.; Mittig, W.; Montes, F.; Morrissey, D. J.; Pereira, J.; Schatz, H.; Schatz, J.; Scott, M.; Shapira, D.; Smith, K.; Stevens, J.; Tan, W.; Tarasov, O.; Towers, S.; Wimmer, K.; Winkelbauer, J. R.; Yurkon, J.; Zegers, R. G. T.

    2015-10-01

    We present the mass excesses of 52-57Sc, obtained from recent time-of-flight nuclear mass measurements at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory at Michigan State University. The masses of 56Sc and 57Sc were determined for the first time with atomic mass excesses of -24.85 (59 )(-54+0) MeV and -21.0 (1.3 ) MeV , respectively, where the asymmetric uncertainty for 56Sc was included due to possible contamination from a long-lived isomer. The 56Sc mass indicates a small odd-even mass staggering in the A =56 mass chain towards the neutron drip line, significantly deviating from trends predicted by the global FRDM mass model and favoring trends predicted by the UNEDF0 and UNEDF1 density functional calculations. Together with new shell-model calculations of the electron-capture strength function of 56Sc, our results strongly reduce uncertainties in model calculations of the heating and cooling at the 56Ti electron-capture layer in the outer crust of accreting neutron stars. We find that, in contrast to previous studies, neither strong neutrino cooling nor strong heating occurs in this layer. We conclude that Urca cooling in the outer crusts of accreting neutron stars that exhibit superbursts or high temperature steady-state burning, which are predicted to be rich in A ≈56 nuclei, is considerably weaker than predicted. Urca cooling must instead be dominated by electron capture on the small amounts of adjacent odd-A nuclei contained in the superburst and high temperature steady-state burning ashes. This may explain the absence of strong crust Urca cooling inferred from the observed cooling light curve of the transiently accreting x-ray source MAXI J0556-332.

  13. Mass Measurement of 56Sc Reveals a Small A = 56 Odd-Even Mass Staggering, Implying a Cooler Accreted Neutron Star Crust.

    PubMed

    Meisel, Z; George, S; Ahn, S; Bazin, D; Brown, B A; Browne, J; Carpino, J F; Chung, H; Cole, A L; Cyburt, R H; Estradé, A; Famiano, M; Gade, A; Langer, C; Matoš, M; Mittig, W; Montes, F; Morrissey, D J; Pereira, J; Schatz, H; Schatz, J; Scott, M; Shapira, D; Smith, K; Stevens, J; Tan, W; Tarasov, O; Towers, S; Wimmer, K; Winkelbauer, J R; Yurkon, J; Zegers, R G T

    2015-10-16

    We present the mass excesses of (52-57)Sc, obtained from recent time-of-flight nuclear mass measurements at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory at Michigan State University. The masses of 56Sc and 57Sc were determined for the first time with atomic mass excesses of -24.85(59)((-54)(+0))  MeV and -21.0(1.3)  MeV, respectively, where the asymmetric uncertainty for 56Sc was included due to possible contamination from a long-lived isomer. The 56Sc mass indicates a small odd-even mass staggering in the A = 56 mass chain towards the neutron drip line, significantly deviating from trends predicted by the global FRDM mass model and favoring trends predicted by the UNEDF0 and UNEDF1 density functional calculations. Together with new shell-model calculations of the electron-capture strength function of 56Sc, our results strongly reduce uncertainties in model calculations of the heating and cooling at the 56Ti electron-capture layer in the outer crust of accreting neutron stars. We find that, in contrast to previous studies, neither strong neutrino cooling nor strong heating occurs in this layer. We conclude that Urca cooling in the outer crusts of accreting neutron stars that exhibit superbursts or high temperature steady-state burning, which are predicted to be rich in A≈56 nuclei, is considerably weaker than predicted. Urca cooling must instead be dominated by electron capture on the small amounts of adjacent odd-A nuclei contained in the superburst and high temperature steady-state burning ashes. This may explain the absence of strong crust Urca cooling inferred from the observed cooling light curve of the transiently accreting x-ray source MAXI J0556-332. PMID:26550869

  14. Accretion by magnetic neutron stars. II - Plasma entry into the magnetosphere via diffusion, polar cusps, and magnetic field reconnection

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Elsner, R. F.; Lamb, F. K.

    1984-01-01

    A variety of entry modes were investigated to determine whether most of the accreting plasma enters the magnetosphere as a result of hydromagnetic instability or via other means. It is shown that diffusion is never important under the conditions of interest, nor is the loss-cone entry through the polar cusps when the plasma is collisionless. Although the loss-cone entry rate can be significantly increased if the plasma in the cusps cools and becomes collisional, this cannot stabilize the magnetosphere. The descent of the cusps cannot be the dominant entry process if the star has a persistent luminosity greater than about 10 to the 36th erg/s and a substantial fraction of the magnetosphere is illuminated. This, however, can be a significant entry process for much lower luminosities or strongly anisotropic illumination. The possibility that plasma entry via reconnection can stabilize the magnetosphere is also unlikely.

  15. ON THE NATURE OF THE FIRST TRANSIENT Z SOURCE XTE J1701-462: ITS ACCRETION DISK STRUCTURE, NEUTRON STAR MAGNETIC FIELD STRENGTH, AND HARD TAIL

    SciTech Connect

    Ding, G. Q.; Wang, N.; Yan, S. P.; Zhang, S. N.; Qu, J. L. E-mail: dinggq@gmail.com

    2011-08-15

    Using data from the Rossi X-Ray Timing Explorer, we investigate the spectral evolution along a 'Z' track and a '{nu}' track on the hardness-intensity diagrams of the first transient Z source XTE J1701-462. The spectral analyses suggest that the inner disk radius depends on the mass accretion rate, in agreement with the model prediction, R{sub in}{proportional_to}M-dot{sup 2/7}{sub disk}, for a radiation-pressure-dominated accretion disk interacting with the magnetosphere of a neutron star (NS). The changes in the disk mass accretion rate M-dot{sub disk} are responsible for the evolution of the 'Z' or '{nu}' track. Radiation pressure thickens the disk considerably and also produces significant outflows. The NS surface magnetic field strength, derived from the interaction between the magnetosphere and the radiation-pressure-dominated accretion disk, is {approx}(1-3) x 10{sup 9} G, which is possibly between normal atoll and Z sources. A significant hard tail is detected in the horizontal branches and we discuss several possible origins of the hard tail.

  16. Neutron stars as dark matter probes

    SciTech Connect

    Lavallaz, Arnaud de; Fairbairn, Malcolm

    2010-06-15

    We examine whether the accretion of dark matter onto neutron stars could ever have any visible external effects. Captured dark matter which subsequently annihilates will heat the neutron stars, although it seems the effect will be too small to heat close neutron stars at an observable rate while those at the galactic center are obscured by dust. Nonannihilating dark matter would accumulate at the center of the neutron star. In a very dense region of dark matter such as that which may be found at the center of the galaxy, a neutron star might accrete enough to cause it to collapse within a period of time less than the age of the Universe. We calculate what value of the stable dark matter-nucleon cross section would cause this to occur for a large range of masses.

  17. Search for a correlation between kHz quasi-periodic oscillation frequencies and accretion-related parameters in the ensemble of neutron star low-mass X-ray binaries

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Çatmabacak, Önder; Hakan Erkut, M.; Catmabacak, Onur; Duran, Sivan

    2016-07-01

    The distribution of neutron star sources in the ensemble of low-mass X-ray binaries shows no evidence for a correlation between kHz quasi-periodic oscillation (QPO) frequencies and X-ray luminosity. Sources differing by orders of magnitude in luminosity can exhibit similar range of QPO frequencies. We study the possibility for the existence of a correlation between kHz QPO frequencies and accretion related parameters. The parameters such as the mass accretion rate and the size of the boundary region in the innermost disk are expected to be related to X-ray luminosity. Using the up-to-date data of neutron star low-mass X-ray binaries, we search for a possible correlation between lower kHz QPO frequencies and mass accretion rate through the mass and radius values predicted by different equations of state for the neutron star. The range of mass accretion rate for each source can be estimated if the accretion luminosity is assumed to be represented well by the X-ray luminosity of the source. Although we find no correlation between mass accretion rate and QPO frequencies, the source distribution seems to be in accordance with a correlation between kHz QPO frequencies and the parameter combining the neutron star magnetic field and the mas accretion rate. The model function we employ to descibe the correlation is able to account for the scattering of individual sources around a simple power law. The correlation argues disk-magnetosphere interaction as the origin of these millisecond oscillations.

  18. Old and new neutron stars

    SciTech Connect

    Ruderman, M.

    1984-09-01

    The youngest known radiopulsar in the rapidly spinning magnetized neutron star which powers the Crab Nebula, the remnant of the historical supernova explosion of 1054 AD. Similar neutron stars are probably born at least every few hundred years, but are less frequent than Galactic supernova explosions. They are initially sources of extreme relativistic electron and/or positron winds (approx.10/sup 38/s/sup -1/ of 10/sup 12/ eV leptons) which greatly decrease as the neutron stars spin down to become mature pulsars. After several million years these neutron stars are no longer observed as radiopulsars, perhaps because of large magnetic field decay. However, a substantial fraction of the 10/sup 8/ old dead pulsars in the Galaxy are the most probable source for the isotropically distributed ..gamma..-ray burst detected several times per week at the earth. Some old neutron stars are spun-up by accretion from companions to be resurrected as rapidly spinning low magnetic field radiopulsars. 52 references, 6 figures, 3 tables.

  19. The Quiescent Neutron Star and Hierarchical Triple, 4U2129+47

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nowak, Michael; Chakrabarty, Deepto; Wilms, Joern; Kühnel, Matthias

    2016-04-01

    4U 2129+47 is a quiescent, eclipsing neutron star that 35 years ago showed typical "Accretion Disk Corona" (ADC) behavior akin to the prototype of the class, X1822-371. Now faded, 4U 2129+47 provides tests of neutron star quiescent emission. It has shown low temperature thermal emission (the neutron star surface), a power law tail (of unknown origin, although possibly due to a pulsar wind interacting with an incoming accretion stream; Campana et al. 1998), and sinusoidally modulated absorption (the disk) as well as periodic X-ray eclipses. Subsequent XMM-Newton and Chandra observations, taken 2007 through Fall 2015, indicate that the hard tail and sinusoidal modulation disappeared, as if the accretion stream and disk have vanished. With the intiial loss of the hard tail, the soft X-ray flux also dropped, but since has remained steady, showing no signs of further neutron star cooling in the subsequent 8 years. We compare this behavior to recent NuSTAR observations of the quiescent neutron star Cen X-4, where the hard tail seems to persist over a wider range of quiescent flux, and correlate with the soft X-ray. It also has been speculated that 4U 2129+47 is part of a hierarchical triple system, with the third body in a much longer orbit. We use the Chandra and XMM-Newton eclipse ephemeris residuals to describe this third body orbit.

  20. COMPARING THE ACCRETION DISK EVOLUTION OF BLACK HOLE AND NEUTRON STAR X-RAY BINARIES FROM LOW TO SUPER-EDDINGTON LUMINOSITY

    SciTech Connect

    Weng Shanshan; Zhang Shuangnan E-mail: zhangsn@ihep.ac.cn

    2011-09-20

    Low-mass X-ray binaries (LMXBs) are systems in which a low-mass companion transfers mass via Roche-lobe overflow onto a black hole (BH) or a weakly magnetized neutron star (NS). It is believed that both the solid surface and the magnetic field of an NS can affect the accretion flow and show some observable effects. Using the disk emission dominant data, we compare the disk evolution of the two types of systems from low luminosity to super-Eddington luminosity. As the luminosity decreases the disk in the NS LMXB 4U1608-522 begins to leave the innermost stable circular orbit (ISCO) at much higher luminosity ({approx}0.1 L{sub Edd}), compared with BH LMXBs at much lower luminosity ({approx}0.03 L{sub Edd}), due to the interaction between the NS magnetosphere and accretion flow. However, as the luminosity increases above a critical luminosity, the disks in BH and NS LMXBs trace the same evolutionary pattern, because the magnetosphere is restricted inside ISCO, and then both the NS surface emission and (dipole) magnetic field do not significantly affect the secular evolution of the accretion disk, which is driven by the increased radiation pressure in the inner region. We further suggest that the NS surface emission provides additional information about the accretion disk not available in BH systems. Through the observed NS surface emission, we argue that the disk thickness H/R is less than 0.3-0.4, and that the significant outflow from the inner disk edge exists at a luminosity close to Eddington luminosity.

  1. Gravitational Waves from Neutron Stars: A Review

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lasky, Paul D.

    2015-09-01

    Neutron stars are excellent emitters of gravitational waves. Squeezing matter beyond nuclear densities invites exotic physical processes, many of which violently transfer large amounts of mass at relativistic velocities, disrupting spacetime and generating copious quantities of gravitational radiation. I review mechanisms for generating gravitational waves with neutron stars. This includes gravitational waves from radio and millisecond pulsars, magnetars, accreting systems, and newly born neutron stars, with mechanisms including magnetic and thermoelastic deformations, various stellar oscillation modes, and core superfluid turbulence. I also focus on what physics can be learnt from a gravitational wave detection, and where additional research is required to fully understand the dominant physical processes at play.

  2. Position annihilation radiation from neutron stars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ramaty, R.; Borner, G. A.; Cohen, J. M.

    1972-01-01

    Matter accreted on the surfaces of neutron stars consists of energetic particles of a few tens to a couple hundred MeV/nucleon, depending on the neutron star mass. In addition to heat, such particles produce nuclear reactions with the surface material. It is proposed that the recently observed 473 + or - 30 keV spectral feature from the galactic center is gravitationally red-shifted positron annihilation radiation produced at the surfaces of old neutron stars. The principal observational tests of the model would be the detection of nuclear gamma ray lines from the galactic center and red-shifted positron annihilation radiation from the galactic disk.

  3. Dibaryons in neutron stars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Olinto, Angela V.; Haensel, Pawel; Frieman, Joshua A.

    1991-01-01

    The effects are studied of H-dibaryons on the structure of neutron stars. It was found that H particles could be present in neutron stars for a wide range of dibaryon masses. The appearance of dibaryons softens the equations of state, lowers the maximum neutron star mass, and affects the transport properties of dense matter. The parameter space is constrained for dibaryons by requiring that a 1.44 solar mass neutron star be gravitationally stable.

  4. Relativistic shocks in electron-positron plasmas, and polar cap accretion onto neutron stars: Two non-linear problems in astrophysical plasma physics

    SciTech Connect

    Arons, J.

    1988-08-15

    I outline particle simulations and theory of relativistic shock waves in an e/sup +-/ plasma. Magnetic reflection of particles is an essential role in the shock structure. Instability of the reflected particles in the shock front produces intense extraordinary mode radiation. Such shocks are candidates for the particle accelerator in plerions and in extragalactic jets only if the upstream Poynting flux composes no more than 10% of the total. I summarize analytical and numerical studies of radiation dominated accretion onto the magnetic poles of neutron stars. The upper limit to the photon luminosity depends upon magnetic confinement, not upon the dragging of photons into the star. Numerical solutions show the plasma forms large scale ''photon bubbles.'' I suggest the percolative loss of radiation controls the pressure and therefore the limits of magnetic confinement. Loss of magnetic confinement through resistive interchange instability is suggested as a means of generating TeV to PeV voltage drops along the magnetic field. 34 refs., 6 figs., 1 tab.

  5. The Neutron Star Zoo

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Harding, Alice K.

    2014-01-01

    Neutron stars are a very diverse population, both in their observational and their physical properties. They prefer to radiate most of their energy at X-ray and gamma-ray wavelengths. But whether their emission is powered by rotation, accretion, heat, magnetic fields or nuclear reactions, they are all different species of the same animal whose magnetic field evolution and interior composition remain a mystery. This article will broadly review the properties of inhabitants of the neutron star zoo, with emphasis on their high-energy emission. XXX Neutron stars are found in a wide variety of sources, displaying an amazing array of behavior. They can be isolated or in binary systems, accreting, heating, cooling, spinning down, spinning up, pulsing, flaring and bursting. The one property that seems to determine their behavior most strongly is their magnetic field strength, structure and evolution. The hot polar caps, bursts and flares of magnetars are likely due to the rapid decay and twisting of their superstrong magnetic fields, whose very existence requires some kind of early dynamo activity. The intermediate-strength magnetic fields of RPPs determines their spin-down behavior and radiation properties. However, the overlap of the magnetar and RPP populations is not understood at present. Why don't high-field RPPs burst or flare? Why don't lower-field magnetars sometimes behave more like RPPs? INS may be old magnetars whose high fields have decayed, but they do not account for the existence of younger RPPs with magnetar-strength fields. Not only the strength of the magnetic field but also its configuration may be important in making a NS a magnetar or a RPP. Magnetic field decay is a critical link between other NS populations as well. "Decay" of the magnetic field is necessary for normal RPPs to evolve into MSPs through accretion and spin up in LMXBs. Some kind of accretion-driven field reduction is the most likely mechanism, but it is controversial since it is not

  6. Burst Oscillations: A New Spin on Neutron Stars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Strohmayer, Tod

    2007-01-01

    Observations with NASA's Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) have shown that the X-ray flux during thermonuclear X-ray bursts fr-om accreting neutron stars is often strongly pulsed at frequencies as high as 620 Hz. We now know that these oscillations are produced by spin modulation of the thermonuclear flux from the neutron star surface. In addition to revealing the spin frequency, they provide new ways to probe the properties and physics of accreting neutron stars. I will briefly review our current observational and theoretical understanding of these oscillations and discuss what they are telling us about neutron stars.

  7. Time-dependent models of accretion discs with nuclear burning following the tidal disruption of a white dwarf by a neutron star

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Margalit, Ben; Metzger, Brian D.

    2016-09-01

    We construct time-dependent one-dimensional (vertically averaged) models of accretion discs produced by the tidal disruption of a white dwarf (WD) by a binary neutron star (NS) companion. Nuclear reactions in the disc mid-plane burn the WD matter to increasingly heavier elements at sequentially smaller radii, releasing substantial energy which can impact the disc dynamics. A model for disc outflows is employed, by which cooling from the outflow balances other sources of heating (viscous, nuclear) in regulating the Bernoulli parameter of the mid-plane to a fixed value ≲0. We perform a comprehensive parameter study of the compositional yields and velocity distributions of the disc outflows for WDs of different initial compositions. For C/O WDs, the radial composition profile of the disc evolves self-similarly in a quasi-steady-state manner, and is remarkably robust to model parameters. The nucleosynthesis in helium WD discs does not exhibit this behaviour, which instead depends sensitively on factors controlling the disc mid-plane density (e.g. the strength of the viscosity, α). By the end of the simulation, a substantial fraction of the WD mass is unbound in outflows at characteristic velocities of ˜109 cm s-1. The outflows from WD-NS merger discs contain 10-4-3 × 10-3 M⊙ of radioactive 56Ni, resulting in fast (˜ week long) dim (˜1040 erg s-1) optical transients; shock heating of the ejecta by late-time outflows may increase the peak luminosity to ˜1043 erg s-1. The accreted mass on to the NS is probably not sufficient to induce gravitational collapse, but may be capable of spinning up the NS to periods of ˜10 ms, illustrating the feasibility of this channel in forming isolated millisecond pulsars.

  8. Jets from Merging Neutron Stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kohler, Susanna

    2016-06-01

    radiated away in gravitational waves, the hypermassive neutron star loses its support and collapses to a black hole.Plasma velocities turn around (51.5 ms)Initially the plasma was falling inward, but as the disk of neutron-star debris is accreted onto the black hole, energy is released. This turns the plasma near the black hole poles around and flings it outward.Magnetic field forms a helical funnel (62.5 ms)The fields near the poles of the black hole amplify as they are wound around, creating a funnel that provides the wall of the jet.Jet outflow extends to heights greater than 445 km (64.5 ms)The disk is all accreted and, since the fuel is exhausted, the outflow shuts off (within 100ms)Neutron-Star SuccessPlot showing the gravitational wave signature for one of the authors simulations. The moments of merger of the neutron stars and collapse to a black hole are marked. [Adapted from Ruiz et al. 2016]These simulations show that no initial black hole is needed to launch outflows; a merger of two neutron stars can result in an sGRB-like jet. Another interesting result is that the magnetic field configuration doesnt affect the formation of a jet: neutron stars with magnetic fields confined to their interiors launch jets as effectively as those with pulsar-like magnetic fields. The accretion timescale for both cases is consistent with the duration of an sGRB.While this simulation models milliseconds of real time, its enormously computationally challenging and takes months to simulate. The successes of this simulation represent exciting advances in numerical relativity, as well as in our understanding of the electromagnetic counterparts that may accompany gravitational waves.BonusCheck out this awesome video of the authors simulations. The colors differentiate the plasma density and the white lines depict the pulsar-like magnetic field that initially threads the two merging neutron stars. Watch as the neutron stars evolve through the different stages outlined above, eventually

  9. Jets from Merging Neutron Stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kohler, Susanna

    2016-06-01

    radiated away in gravitational waves, the hypermassive neutron star loses its support and collapses to a black hole.Plasma velocities turn around (51.5 ms)Initially the plasma was falling inward, but as the disk of neutron-star debris is accreted onto the black hole, energy is released. This turns the plasma near the black hole poles around and flings it outward.Magnetic field forms a helical funnel (62.5 ms)The fields near the poles of the black hole amplify as they are wound around, creating a funnel that provides the wall of the jet.Jet outflow extends to heights greater than 445 km (64.5 ms)The disk is all accreted and, since the fuel is exhausted, the outflow shuts off (within 100ms)Neutron-Star SuccessPlot showing the gravitational wave signature for one of the authors simulations. The moments of merger of the neutron stars and collapse to a black hole are marked. [Adapted from Ruiz et al. 2016]These simulations show that no initial black hole is needed to launch outflows; a merger of two neutron stars can result in an sGRB-like jet. Another interesting result is that the magnetic field configuration doesnt affect the formation of a jet: neutron stars with magnetic fields confined to their interiors launch jets as effectively as those with pulsar-like magnetic fields. The accretion timescale for both cases is consistent with the duration of an sGRB.While this simulation models milliseconds of real time, its enormously computationally challenging and takes months to simulate. The successes of this simulation represent exciting advances in numerical relativity, as well as in our understanding of the electromagnetic counterparts that may accompany gravitational waves.BonusCheck out this awesome video of the authors simulations. The colors differentiate the plasma density and the white lines depict the pulsar-like magnetic field that initially threads the two merging neutron stars. Watch as the neutron stars evolve through the different stages outlined above, eventually

  10. ULXs: Neutron stars versus black holes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    King, Andrew; Lasota, Jean-Pierre

    2016-05-01

    We consider ultraluminous X-ray systems (ULXs) where the accretor is a neutron star rather than a black hole. We show that the recently discovered example (M82 X-2) fits naturally into the simple picture of ULXs as beamed X-ray sources fed at super-Eddington rates, provided that its magnetic field is weaker (≃1011G) than a new-born X-ray pulsar, as expected if there has been mass gain. Continuing accretion is likely to weaken the field to the point that pulsing stops, and make the system indistinguishable from a ULX containing a black hole. Accordingly we suggest that a significant fraction of all ULXs may actually contain neutron star accretors rather than black holes, reflecting the neutron-star fraction among their X-ray binary progenitors. We emphasize that neutron-star ULXs are likely to have higher apparent luminosities than black hole ULXs for a given mass transfer rate, as their tighter beaming outweighs their lower Eddington luminosities. This further increases the likely proportion of neutron-star accretors among all ULXs. Cygnus X-2 is probably a typical descendant of neutron-star ULXs, which may therefore ultimately end as millisecond pulsar binaries with massive white dwarf companions.

  11. Neutron star models

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Canuto, V.; Bowers, R. L.

    1981-01-01

    The current state of neutron star structure calculations is reviewed. Uncertainties in the equation of state for matter at and above nuclear density remain. The role of the delta resonance, pion condensates, and quark matter is reviewed. It is found that recent models yield stable neutron star masses which are consistent with observational estimates.

  12. Introduction to neutron stars

    SciTech Connect

    Lattimer, James M.

    2015-02-24

    Neutron stars contain the densest form of matter in the present universe. General relativity and causality set important constraints to their compactness. In addition, analytic GR solutions are useful in understanding the relationships that exist among the maximum mass, radii, moments of inertia, and tidal Love numbers of neutron stars, all of which are accessible to observation. Some of these relations are independent of the underlying dense matter equation of state, while others are very sensitive to the equation of state. Recent observations of neutron stars from pulsar timing, quiescent X-ray emission from binaries, and Type I X-ray bursts can set important constraints on the structure of neutron stars and the underlying equation of state. In addition, measurements of thermal radiation from neutron stars has uncovered the possible existence of neutron and proton superfluidity/superconductivity in the core of a neutron star, as well as offering powerful evidence that typical neutron stars have significant crusts. These observations impose constraints on the existence of strange quark matter stars, and limit the possibility that abundant deconfined quark matter or hyperons exist in the cores of neutron stars.

  13. Neutron stars - General review

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cameron, A. G. W.; Canuto, V.

    1974-01-01

    A review is presented of those properties of neutron stars upon which there is general agreement and of those areas which currently remain in doubt. Developments in theoretical physics of neutron star interiors are summarized with particular attention devoted to hyperon interactions and the structure of interior layers. Determination of energy states and the composition of matter is described for successive layers, beginning with the surface and proceeding through the central region into the core. Problems encountered in determining the behavior of matter in the ultra-high density regime are discussed, and the effects of the magnetic field of a neutron star are evaluated along with the behavior of atomic structures in the field. The evolution of a neutron star is outlined with discussion centering on carbon detonation, cooling, vibrational damping, rotation, and pulsar glitches. The role of neutron stars in cosmic-ray propagation is considered.

  14. Accreting neutron stars by QFT

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Shao-Guang

    I deduce the new gravitational formula from the variance in mass of QFT and GR (H05-0029-08, E15-0039 -08, E14-0032-08, D31-0054-10) in the partial differential: f (QFT) = f (GR) = delta∂ (m v)/delta∂ t = f _{P} + f _{C} , f _{P} = m delta∂ v / delta∂ t = - ( G m M /r (2) ) r / r, f _{C} = v delta∂ m / delta∂ t = - ( G mM / r (2) ) v / c (1). f (QFT) is the quasi-Casimir pressure of net virtual neutrinos nuν _{0} flux (after counteract contrary direction nuν _{0}). f (GR) is equivalent to Einstein’s equation as a new version of GR. GR can be inferred from Eq.(1) thereby from QFT, but QFT cannot be inferred from Eq.(1) or GR. f (QFT) is essential but f (GR) is phenomenological. Eq.(1) is obtained just by to absorb the essence of corpuscule collided gravitation origin ism proposed by Fatio in 1690 and 1920 Majorana’s experiment concept about gravitational shield effect again fuse with QFT. Its core content is that the gravity produced by particles collide cannot linear addition, i.e., Eq.(1) with the adding nonlinearity caused by the variable mass to replace the nonlinearity of Einstein’s equation. The nonlinear gravitation problems can be solved using the classical gradual approximation of alone f _{P} and alone f _{C}. Such as the calculation of advance of the perihelion of QFT, let the gravitational potential U = - G M /r which is just the distribution density of net nuν _{0} flux. From SR we again get Eq.(1): f (QFT) = f _{P} + f _{C}, f _{P} = - m ( delta∂ U / delta∂ r) r / r, f _{C} = - m ( delta∂U / delta∂ r) v / c , U = (1 - betaβ (2) )V, V is the Newtonian gravitational potential. f_{ P} correspond the change rate of three-dimensional momentum p, f_{C} correspond the change rate of fourth dimensional momentum i m c which show directly as a dissipative force of mass change. In my paper ‘To cross the great gap between the modern physics and classic physics, China Science &Technology Overview 129 85-91 (2011)’ with the measuring value of one-way velocity of light (H05-0020-08) to replace the infinity value of light speed measured by Galileo in 1607, thereby the mass m in NM will become variable m. Or else, the energy of electron in accelerator should not larger than 0.51Mev which conflict with the experimental fact. According to the variable mass and the definition of force we again get Eq.(1) from NM without hypothesis, i.e., NM is generalized in which Galileo coordinates transformation and the action at a distance will be of no effect. Eq.(1) has more reliable experimental base and generalized NM may be applied to the high-speed and the microscopic conditions. Because of the result of a test of GR with use of a hydrogen-maser frequency standard in a spacecraft launched nearly vertically upward to 10000 km (R. F. C. Vessot et.al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 45, 2081(1980)), the isotropy of one-way velocity of light had been validated at the 1*10 (-10) level (D2.4-0030-12, H0.1-0009-12, H0.2-0008-12). Again from the Lorentz transformation (H01-0006 -08) and the uncertainty principle (H05-0036-10) deduced from the metrical results of Doppler effects, SR and QM, thereby QFT and GR all become the inferential theorems from generalized NM. Eq.(1) is as a bridge to join the modern physics and classical physics. In my paper ‘Basal electric and magnetic fields of celestial bodies come from positive-negative charge separation caused by gravitation of quasi-Casimir pressure in weak interaction’ (D31-0054-10): According to QFT the gravitation is the statistic average pressure collided by net virtual neutrinos nuν _{0} flux, the net nuν _{0} flux can press a part freedom electrons in plasma of ionosphere into the surface of celestial bodies. The static electric force of redundant positive ions prevents electrons further falling and till reach the equilibrium of stable spatial charge distribution, which is just the cause of the geomagnetic field and the geo-electric field. In the solar surface plasma add the negative charge from ionosphere electrons again rotate, thereby come into being the solar

  15. Thermonuclear runaways on neutron stars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Taam, R. E.; Picklum, R. E.

    1979-01-01

    Thermonuclear runaways which develop when neutron stars of 0.476 solar masses accrete hydrogen-rich material at 10 to the -10th and 2 x 10 to the -9th solar masses/year have been followed using a numerical model. It is found that a thermal instability occurs at densities in excess of 10 to the 5th g/cu cm and that the maximum accumulated mass required to initiate the runaway is 0.7 x 10 to the -12th and 2.1 x 10 to the -12th solar masses for the mass accretion rates of 10 to the -10th and 2 x 10 to the -9th solar masses/year, respectively. Heating the of the neutron star envelope by hydrogen burning leads to the ignition of helium. The nonequilibrium burning of helium by a combination of (alpha, p), (p, gamma), and (alpha, gamma) reactions involving O-14, O-15, and other heavy nuclei provides the energy for an X-ray burst. The gross properties of these models bear suggestive resemblance to those observed for some X-ray burst sources.

  16. Magnetized Neutron Stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liebling, Steven; Anderson, Matthew; Hirschmann, Eric; Lehner, Luis; Motl, Patrick; Neilsen, David; Palenzuela, Carlos; Tohline, Joel

    2008-04-01

    Magnetized neutron stars, whether considered individually or within compact binary systems, demonstrate a number of interesting dynamical effects. Using a distributed adaptive mesh refinement (AMR) code, we evolve such stars and study their dynamics.

  17. Cooling of neutron stars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pethick, C. J.

    1992-01-01

    It is at present impossible to predict the interior constitution of neutron stars based on theory and results from laboratory studies. It has been proposed that it is possible to obtain information on neutron star interiors by studying thermal radiation from their surfaces, because neutrino emission rates, and hence the temperature of the central part of a neutron star, depend on the properties of dense matter. The theory predicts that neutron stars cool relatively slowly if their cores are made up of nucleons, and cool faster if the matter is in an exotic state, such as a pion condensate, a kaon condensate, or quark matter. This view has recently been questioned by the discovery of a number of other processes that could lead to copious neutrino emission and rapid cooling.

  18. Observational constraints on neutron star masses and radii

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miller, M. Coleman; Lamb, Frederick K.

    2016-03-01

    Precise and reliable measurements of the masses and radii of neutron stars with a variety of masses would provide valuable guidance for improving models of the properties of cold matter with densities above the saturation density of nuclear matter. Several different approaches for measuring the masses and radii of neutron stars have been tried or proposed, including analyzing the X-ray fluxes and spectra of the emission from neutron stars in quiescent low-mass X-ray binary systems and thermonuclear burst sources; fitting the energy-dependent X-ray waveforms of rotation-powered millisecond pulsars, burst oscillations with millisecond periods, and accretion-powered millisecond pulsars; and modeling the gravitational radiation waveforms of coalescing double neutron star and neutron star - black hole binary systems. We describe the strengths and weaknesses of these approaches, most of which currently have substantial systematic errors, and discuss the prospects for decreasing the systematic errors in each method.

  19. A neutron star with a carbon atmosphere in the Cassiopeia A supernova remnant.

    PubMed

    Ho, Wynn C G; Heinke, Craig O

    2009-11-01

    The surface of hot neutron stars is covered by a thin atmosphere. If there is accretion after neutron-star formation, the atmosphere could be composed of light elements (H or He); if no accretion takes place or if thermonuclear reactions occur after accretion, heavy elements (for example, Fe) are expected. Despite detailed searches, observations have been unable to confirm the atmospheric composition of isolated neutron stars. Here we report an analysis of archival observations of the compact X-ray source in the centre of the Cassiopeia A supernova remnant. We show that a carbon atmosphere neutron star (with low magnetic field) produces a good fit to the spectrum. Our emission model, in contrast with others, implies an emission size consistent with theoretical predictions for the radius of neutron stars. This result suggests that there is nuclear burning in the surface layers and also identifies the compact source as a very young ( approximately 330-year-old) neutron star. PMID:19890325

  20. Neutron Star Compared to Manhattan

    NASA Video Gallery

    A pulsar is a neutron star, the crushed core of a star that has exploded. Neutron stars crush half a million times more mass than Earth into a sphere no larger than Manhattan, as animated in this s...

  1. Neutrinos from neutron stars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Helfand, D. J.

    1979-01-01

    A calculation of the flux of ultra-high energy neutrinos from galactic neutron stars is presented. The calculation is used to determine the number of point sources detectable at the sensitivity threshold of a proposed deep underwater muon and neutrino detector array. The detector array would have a point source detection threshold of about 100 eV/sq cm-sec. Analysis of neutrino luminosities and the number of detectable sources suggests that the deep underwater detector may make a few discoveries. In particular, a suspected neutron star in the Cyg X-3 source seems a promising target for the deep underwater array.

  2. X-ray bursts and neutron-star thermonuclear flashes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Joss, P. C.

    1977-01-01

    A description is presented of a model concerning the production of X-ray bursts by thermonuclear flashes in the freshly accreted matter near the surface of an accreting neutron star. An investigation is conducted regarding the physical processes relevant to such thermonuclear flashes. It is concluded that thermonuclear flashes may account for some, but not all, of the observed X-ray burst sources. Attention is given to a neutron star undergoing accretion of mass from a binary stellar companion, aspects of energetics, nuclear reactions, and heat transport mechanisms.

  3. Hyperons in Neutron Stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vidaña, Isaac

    2016-01-01

    In this work I briefly review some of the effects of hyperons on the properties of neutron and proto-neutron stars. In particular, I revise the problem of the strong softening of the EoS, and the consequent reduction of the maximum mass, induced by the presence of hyperons, a puzzle which has become more intringuing and difficult to solve because of the recent measurements of the unusually high masses of the millisecond pulsars PSR J1903+0327 (1.667 ± 0.021M⊙), PSR J1614-2230 (1.97 ± 0.04M⊙), and PSR J0348+0432 (2.01 ± 0.04M⊙). Some of the solutions proposed to tackle this problem are discussed. Finally, I re-examine also the role of hyperons on the cooling properties of newly born neutron stars and on the so-called r-mode instability.

  4. Planets Around Neutron Stars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wolszczan, Alexander; Kulkarni, Shrinivas R; Anderson, Stuart B.

    2003-01-01

    The objective of this proposal was to continue investigations of neutron star planetary systems in an effort to describe and understand their origin, orbital dynamics, basic physical properties and their relationship to planets around normal stars. This research represents an important element of the process of constraining the physics of planet formation around various types of stars. The research goals of this project included long-term timing measurements of the planets pulsar, PSR B1257+12, to search for more planets around it and to study the dynamics of the whole system, and sensitive searches for millisecond pulsars to detect further examples of old, rapidly spinning neutron stars with planetary systems. The instrumentation used in our project included the 305-m Arecibo antenna with the Penn State Pulsar Machine (PSPM), the 100-m Green Bank Telescope with the Berkeley- Caltech Pulsar Machine (BCPM), and the 100-m Effelsberg and 64-m Parkes telescopes equipped with the observatory supplied backend hardware.

  5. Hyperons and neutron stars

    SciTech Connect

    Vidaña, Isaac

    2015-02-24

    In this lecture I will briefly review some of the effects of hyperons on the properties of neutron and proto-neutron stars. In particular, I will revise the problem of the strong softening of the EoS, and the consequent reduction of the maximum mass, induced by the presence of hyperons, a puzzle which has become more intringuing and difficult to solve due the recent measurements of the unusually high masses of the millisecond pulsars PSR J1903+0327 (1.667±0.021M{sub ⊙}), PSR J1614–2230 (1.97±0.04M{sub ⊙}), and PSR J0348+0432 (2.01±0.04M{sub ⊙}). Finally, I will also examine the role of hyperons on the cooling properties of newly born neutron stars and on the so-called r-mode instability.

  6. Constraints on neutron star models of gamma-burst sources from the Einstein Observatory

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pizzichini, G.; Gottardi, M.; Atteia, J.-L.; Barat, C.; Hurley, K.; Niel, M.; Vedrenne, G.; Laros, J. G.; Cline, T. L.; Desai, U. D.

    1986-01-01

    Six Einstein observations of five gamma-ray burst sources are presented and discussed. With one possible exception, no point source was detected in any of the observations. The data are interpreted in the framework of neutron star models for gamma bursters. Upper limits are derived for the surface temperatures of the neutron stars assumed to be responsible for the bursts. It is shown that the lack of soft X-ray emission may impose stringent constraints on accretion rates onto neutron stars.

  7. Gravitoastronomy with neutron stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Woan, Graham

    2004-09-01

    Recent advances in gravitational wave detectors mean that we can start to make astrophysically important statements about the physics of neutron stars based on observed upper limits to their gravitational luminosity. Here we consider statements we can already make about a selection of known radio pulsars, based on data from the LIGO and GEO600 detectors, and look forward to what could be learned from the first detections.

  8. Axion cooling of neutron stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sedrakian, Armen

    2016-03-01

    Cooling simulations of neutron stars and their comparison with the data from thermally emitting x-ray sources put constraints on the properties of axions, and by extension, of any light pseudoscalar dark matter particles, whose existence has been postulated to solve the strong-C P problem of QCD. We incorporate the axion emission by pair-breaking and formation processes by S - and P -wave nucleonic condensates in a benchmark code for cooling simulations, as well as provide fit formulas for the rates of these processes. Axion cooling of neutron stars has been simulated for 24 models covering the mass range 1 to 1.8 solar masses, featuring nonaccreted iron and accreted light-element envelopes, and a range of nucleon-axion couplings. The models are based on an equation state predicting conservative physics of superdense nuclear matter that does not allow for the onset of fast cooling processes induced by phase transitions to non-nucleonic forms of matter or high proton concentration. The cooling tracks in the temperature vs age plane were confronted with the (time-averaged) measured surface temperature of the central compact object in the Cas A supernova remnant as well as surface temperatures of three nearby middle-aged thermally emitting pulsars. We find that the axion coupling is limited to fa/107 GeV ≥(5 - 10 ) , which translates into an upper bound on axion mass ma≤(0.06 - 0.12 ) eV for Peccei-Quinn charges of the neutron |Cn|˜0.04 and proton |Cp|˜0.4 characteristic for hadronic models of axions.

  9. Cooling of neutron stars with diffusive envelopes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beznogov, M. V.; Fortin, M.; Haensel, P.; Yakovlev, D. G.; Zdunik, J. L.

    2016-08-01

    We study the effects of heat blanketing envelopes of neutron stars on their cooling. To this aim, we perform cooling simulations using newly constructed models of the envelopes composed of binary ion mixtures (H-He, He-C, C-Fe) varying the mass of lighter ions (H, He or C) in the envelope. The results are compared with those calculated using the standard models of the envelopes which contain the layers of lighter (accreted) elements (H, He and C) on top of the Fe layer, varying the mass of accreted elements. The main effect is that the chemical composition of the envelopes influences their thermal conductivity and, hence, thermal insulation of the star. For illustration, we apply these results to estimate the internal temperature of the Vela pulsar and to study the cooling of neutron stars of ages of 105 - 106 yr at the photon cooling stage. The uncertainties of the cooling models associated with our poor knowledge of chemical composition of the heat insulating envelopes strongly complicate theoretical reconstruction of the internal structure of cooling neutron stars from observations of their thermal surface emission.

  10. Neutrino-pair bremsstrahlung in a neutron star crust

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ofengeim, D. D.; Kaminker, A. D.; Yakovlev, D. G.

    2014-11-01

    Based on the formalism by Kaminker et al. (Astron. Astrophys., 343 (1999) 1009) we derive an analytic approximation for neutrino-pair bremsstrahlung emissivity due to scattering of electrons by atomic nuclei in a neutron star crust of any realistic composition. The emissivity is expressed through the generalized Coulomb logarithm which we fit by introducing an effective potential of electron-nucleus scattering. In addition, we study the conditions at which the neutrino bremsstrahlung in the crust is affected by strong magnetic fields. The results can be applied for modelling of many phenomena in neutron stars, such as thermal relaxation in young isolated neutron stars and in accreting neutron stars with overheated crust in soft X-ray transients.

  11. 'Tertiary' nuclear burning - Neutron star deflagration?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Michel, F. Curtis

    1988-01-01

    A motivation is presented for the idea that dense nuclear matter can burn to a new class of stable particles. One of several possibilities is an 'octet' particle which is the 16 baryon extension of alpha particle, but now composed of a pair of each of the two nucleons, (3Sigma, Delta, and 2Xi). Such 'tertiary' nuclear burning (here 'primary' is H-He and 'secondary' is He-Fe) may lead to neutron star explosions rather than collapse to a black hole, analogous to some Type I supernovae models wherein accreting white dwarfs are pushed over the Chandrasekhar mass limit but explode rather than collapse to form neutron stars. Such explosions could possibly give gamma-ray bursts and power quasars, with efficient particle acceleration in the resultant relativistic shocks. The new stable particles themselves could possibly be the sought-after weakly interacting, massive particles (WIMPs) or 'dark' matter.

  12. ON THE MASS DISTRIBUTION AND BIRTH MASSES OF NEUTRON STARS

    SciTech Connect

    Oezel, Feryal; Psaltis, Dimitrios; Santos Villarreal, Antonio; Narayan, Ramesh

    2012-09-20

    We investigate the distribution of neutron star masses in different populations of binaries, employing Bayesian statistical techniques. In particular, we explore the differences in neutron star masses between sources that have experienced distinct evolutionary paths and accretion episodes. We find that the distribution of neutron star masses in non-recycled eclipsing high-mass binaries as well as of slow pulsars, which are all believed to be near their birth masses, has a mean of 1.28 M{sub Sun} and a dispersion of 0.24 M{sub Sun }. These values are consistent with expectations for neutron star formation in core-collapse supernovae. On the other hand, double neutron stars, which are also believed to be near their birth masses, have a much narrower mass distribution, peaking at 1.33 M{sub Sun }, but with a dispersion of only 0.05 M{sub Sun }. Such a small dispersion cannot easily be understood and perhaps points to a particular and rare formation channel. The mass distribution of neutron stars that have been recycled has a mean of 1.48 M{sub Sun} and a dispersion of 0.2 M{sub Sun }, consistent with the expectation that they have experienced extended mass accretion episodes. The fact that only a very small fraction of recycled neutron stars in the inferred distribution have masses that exceed {approx}2 M{sub Sun} suggests that only a few of these neutron stars cross the mass threshold to form low-mass black holes.

  13. Drilling into a neutron star with X-ray transients

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brown, Edward

    2010-11-01

    Over the last decade, advances in X-ray astronomy have greatly improved our knowledge of nuclear-powered phenomena on accreting neutron stars, such as type I X-ray bursts, superbursts, and cooling from quiescent neutron star transients. Spurred by these observations, theorists are beginning to reconstruct the nuclear evolution of accreted matter as it journeys from the low-density, proton-rich photosphere to the high-density, neutron-rich core. Knowledge of the interior thermal and compositional structure of the crust is important for understanding the detectability of gravitational wave emission from crust ``mountains,'' the strength of neutrino cooling in the core, the magnetic field evolution of the star, and the ignition of bursts at low mass accretion rates. These phenomena are potentially useful for constraining the dense matter equation of state. In this talk, I shall review our current understanding of the reactions in the neutron star crust. I shall then highlight new observations of cooling neutron star transients and what they reveal about the distribution of nuclei in the crust and the neutrino emissivity of the core. The rapidly cooling lightcurves of neutron star transients imply a highly conductive, cool crust, but the inferred ignition depths of superbursts, if powered by ^12C + ^12C fusion, require a hot crust. I will discuss the tension between these phenomena and possible resolutions.

  14. Instability windows and evolution of rapidly rotating neutron stars.

    PubMed

    Gusakov, Mikhail E; Chugunov, Andrey I; Kantor, Elena M

    2014-04-18

    We consider an instability of rapidly rotating neutron stars in low-mass x-ray binaries (LMXBs) with respect to excitation of r modes (which are analogous to Earth's Rossby waves controlled by the Coriolis force). We argue that finite temperature effects in the superfluid core of a neutron star lead to a resonance coupling and enhanced damping (and hence stability) of oscillation modes at certain stellar temperatures. Using a simple phenomenological model we demonstrate that neutron stars with high spin frequency may spend a substantial amount of time at these "resonance" temperatures. This finding allows us to explain puzzling observations of hot rapidly rotating neutron stars in LMXBs and to predict a new class of hot, nonaccreting, rapidly rotating neutron stars, some of which may have already been observed and tentatively identified as quiescent LMXB candidates. We also impose a new theoretical limit on the neutron star spin frequency, which can explain the cutoff spin frequency ∼730  Hz, following from the statistical analysis of accreting millisecond x-ray pulsars. In addition to explaining the observations, our model provides a new tool to constrain superdense matter properties by comparing measured and theoretically predicted resonance temperatures. PMID:24785021

  15. Modeling Binary Neutron Stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Park, Conner; Read, Jocelyn; Flynn, Eric; Lockett-Ruiz, Veronica

    2016-03-01

    Gravitational waves, predicted by Einstein's Theory of Relativity, are a new frontier in astronomical observation we can use to observe phenomena in the universe. Laser Interferometer Gravitational wave Observatory (LIGO) is currently searching for gravitational wave signals, and requires accurate predictions in order to best extract astronomical signals from all other sources of fluctuations. The focus of my research is in increasing the accuracy of Post-Newtonian models of binary neutron star coalescence to match the computationally expensive Numerical models. Numerical simulations can take months to compute a couple of milliseconds of signal whereas the Post-Newtonian can generate similar signals in seconds. However the Post-Newtonian model is an approximation, e.g. the Taylor T4 Post-Newtonian model assumes that the two bodies in the binary neutron star system are point charges. To increase the effectiveness of the approximation, I added in tidal effects, resonance frequencies, and a windowing function. Using these observed effects from simulations significantly increases the Post-Newtonian model's similarity to the Numerical signal.

  16. Origin of Neutron Stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brecher, K.

    1999-12-01

    The origin of the concept of neutron stars can be traced to two brief, incredibly insightful publications. Work on the earlier paper by Lev Landau (Phys. Z. Sowjetunion, 1, 285, 1932) actually predated the discovery of neutrons. Nonetheless, Landau arrived at the notion of a collapsed star with the density of a nucleus (really a "nucleus star") and demonstrated (at about the same time as, and independent of, Chandrasekhar) that there is an upper mass limit for dense stellar objects of about 1.5 solar masses. Perhaps even more remarkable is the abstract of a talk presented at the December 1933 meeting of the American Physical Society published by Walter Baade and Fritz Zwicky in 1934 (Phys. Rev. 45, 138). It followed the discovery of the neutron by just over a year. Their report, which was about the same length as the present abstract: (1) invented the concept and word supernova; (2) suggested that cosmic rays are produced by supernovae; and (3) in the authors own words, proposed "with all reserve ... the view that supernovae represent the transitions from ordinary stars to neutron stars (italics), which in their final stages consist of extremely closely packed neutrons." The abstract by Baade and Zwicky probably contains the highest density of new, important (and correct) ideas in high energy astrophysics ever published in a single paper. In this talk, we will discuss some of the facts and myths surrounding these two publications.

  17. R-mode constraints from neutron star equation of state

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Papazoglou, M. C.; Moustakidis, C. C.

    2016-03-01

    The gravitational radiation has been proposed a long time before, as an explanation for the observed relatively low spin frequencies of young neutron stars and of accreting neutron stars in low-mass X-ray binaries as well. In the present work we studied the effects of the neutron star equation of state on the r-mode instability window of rotating neutron stars. Firstly, we employed a set of analytical solution of the Tolman-Oppenheimer-Volkoff equations with special emphasis on the Tolman VII solution. In particular, we tried to clarify the effects of the bulk neutron star properties (mass, radius, density distribution, crust size and elasticity) on the r-mode instability window. We found that the critical angular velocity \\varOmegac depends mainly on the neutron star radius. The effects of the gravitational mass and the mass distribution are almost negligible. Secondly, we studied the effect of the elasticity of the crust, via to the slippage factor S and also the effect of the nuclear equation of state, via the slope parameter L, on the instability window. We found that the crust effects are more pronounced, compared to those originated from the equation of state. Moreover, we proposed simple analytical expressions which relate the macroscopic quantity \\varOmegac to the radius, the parameter L and the factor {S}. We also investigated the possibility to measure the radius of a neutron star and the factor {S} with the help of accurate measures of \\varOmegac and the neutron star temperature. Finally, we studied the effects of the mutual friction on the instability window and discussed the results in comparison with previous similar studies.

  18. Grand unification of neutron stars

    PubMed Central

    Kaspi, Victoria M.

    2010-01-01

    The last decade has shown us that the observational properties of neutron stars are remarkably diverse. From magnetars to rotating radio transients, from radio pulsars to isolated neutron stars, from central compact objects to millisecond pulsars, observational manifestations of neutron stars are surprisingly varied, with most properties totally unpredicted. The challenge is to establish an overarching physical theory of neutron stars and their birth properties that can explain this great diversity. Here I survey the disparate neutron stars classes, describe their properties, and highlight results made possible by the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, in celebration of its 10th anniversary. Finally, I describe the current status of efforts at physical “grand unification” of this wealth of observational phenomena, and comment on possibilities for Chandra’s next decade in this field. PMID:20404205

  19. Proton acceleration in neutron star magnetospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smith, I. A.; Katz, J. I.; Diamond, P. H.

    1992-01-01

    To explain the emission of TeV and PeV gamma rays from accreting X-ray binary sources, protons must be accelerated to several times the gamma-ray energy. It is shown here that at certain times, the plasma in the accretion column of the neutron star may form a deep enough pool that the top portion becomes unstable to convective motions in spite of the strong magnetic field. The resulting turbulence produces fluctuations in the strength of the magnetic field that travel up the accretion column, taking energy out to the region of the energetic protons. The protons resonantly absorb this energy and are accelerated to high energies. Including the synchrotron radiation losses of the protons, it is shown that they can be accelerated to energies that are high enough to explain the gamma-ray observations.

  20. FAST FOSSIL ROTATION OF NEUTRON STAR CORES

    SciTech Connect

    Melatos, A.

    2012-12-10

    It is argued that the superfluid core of a neutron star super-rotates relative to the crust, because stratification prevents the core from responding to the electromagnetic braking torque, until the relevant dissipative (viscous or Eddington-Sweet) timescale, which can exceed {approx}10{sup 3} yr and is much longer than the Ekman timescale, has elapsed. Hence, in some young pulsars, the rotation of the core today is a fossil record of its rotation at birth, provided that magnetic crust-core coupling is inhibited, e.g., by buoyancy, field-line topology, or the presence of uncondensed neutral components in the superfluid. Persistent core super-rotation alters our picture of neutron stars in several ways, allowing for magnetic field generation by ongoing dynamo action and enhanced gravitational wave emission from hydrodynamic instabilities.

  1. Fast Fossil Rotation of Neutron Star Cores

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Melatos, A.

    2012-12-01

    It is argued that the superfluid core of a neutron star super-rotates relative to the crust, because stratification prevents the core from responding to the electromagnetic braking torque, until the relevant dissipative (viscous or Eddington-Sweet) timescale, which can exceed ~103 yr and is much longer than the Ekman timescale, has elapsed. Hence, in some young pulsars, the rotation of the core today is a fossil record of its rotation at birth, provided that magnetic crust-core coupling is inhibited, e.g., by buoyancy, field-line topology, or the presence of uncondensed neutral components in the superfluid. Persistent core super-rotation alters our picture of neutron stars in several ways, allowing for magnetic field generation by ongoing dynamo action and enhanced gravitational wave emission from hydrodynamic instabilities.

  2. High-Frequency QPOs as a Product of Inner Disk Dynamics around Neutron Stars

    SciTech Connect

    Hakan Erkut, M.

    2011-09-21

    The kHz QPOs observed in a neutron star low mass X-ray binary are likely to be produced in the innermost regions of accretion disk around the neutron star. The rotational dynamics of the inner disk can be characterized by the presence of either sub-Keplerian or super-Keplerian accretion flow depending on the relative fastness of the neutron spin as compared to the Keplerian frequency at the inner disk radius. Within the magnetosphere-disk interaction model, the frequency difference between the two kHz QPOs observed in a given source can be estimated to be slightly higher than or nearly around the neutron star spin frequency if the neutron star is a slow rotator and less than the stellar spin frequency if the neutron star is a fast rotator.

  3. A relativistically smeared spectrum in the neutron star X-ray binary 4U 1705-44: looking at the inner accretion disc with X-ray spectroscopy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    di Salvo, T.; D'Aí, A.; Iaria, R.; Burderi, L.; Dovčiak, M.; Karas, V.; Matt, G.; Papitto, A.; Piraino, S.; Riggio, A.; Robba, N. R.; Santangelo, A.

    2009-10-01

    Iron emission lines at 6.4-6.97 keV, identified with fluorescent Kα transitions, are among the strongest discrete features in the X-ray band. These are therefore one of the most powerful probes to infer the properties of the plasma in the innermost part of the accretion disc around a compact object. In this paper, we present a recent XMM-Newton observation of the X-ray burster 4U 1705-44, where we clearly detect a relativistically smeared iron line at about 6.7 keV, testifying with high statistical significance that the line profile is distorted by high-velocity motion in the accretion disc. As expected from disc reflection models, we also find a significant absorption edge at about 8.3 keV; this feature appears to be smeared, and is compatible with being produced in the same region where the iron line is produced. From the line profile, we derive the physical parameters of the inner accretion disc with large precision. The line is identified with the Kα transition of highly ionized iron, FeXXV, the inner disc radius is Rin = 14 +/- 2 Rg (where Rg is the Gravitational radius, GM/c2), the emissivity dependence from the disc radius is r-2.27+/-0.08, the inclination angle with respect to the line of sight is i = 39° +/- 1°. Finally, the XMM-Newton spectrum shows evidences of other low-energy emission lines, which again appear broad and their profiles are compatible with being produced in the same region where the iron line is produced.

  4. Gravitational Waves from Neutron Stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kokkotas, Konstantinos

    2016-03-01

    Neutron stars are the densest objects in the present Universe, attaining physical conditions of matter that cannot be replicated on Earth. These unique and irreproducible laboratories allow us to study physics in some of its most extreme regimes. More importantly, however, neutron stars allow us to formulate a number of fundamental questions that explore, in an intricate manner, the boundaries of our understanding of physics and of the Universe. The multifaceted nature of neutron stars involves a delicate interplay among astrophysics, gravitational physics, and nuclear physics. The research in the physics and astrophysics of neutron stars is expected to flourish and thrive in the next decade. The imminent direct detection of gravitational waves will turn gravitational physics into an observational science, and will provide us with a unique opportunity to make major breakthroughs in gravitational physics, in particle and high-energy astrophysics. These waves, which represent a basic prediction of Einstein's theory of general relativity but have yet to be detected directly, are produced in copious amounts, for instance, by tight binary neutron star and black hole systems, supernovae explosions, non-axisymmetric or unstable spinning neutron stars. The focus of the talk will be on the neutron star instabilities induced by rotation and the magnetic field. The conditions for the onset of these instabilities and their efficiency in gravitational waves will be presented. Finally, the dependence of the results and their impact on astrophysics and especially nuclear physics will be discussed.

  5. Neutron star structure from QCD

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fraga, Eduardo S.; Kurkela, Aleksi; Vuorinen, Aleksi

    2016-03-01

    In this review article, we argue that our current understanding of the thermodynamic properties of cold QCD matter, originating from first principles calculations at high and low densities, can be used to efficiently constrain the macroscopic properties of neutron stars. In particular, we demonstrate that combining state-of-the-art results from Chiral Effective Theory and perturbative QCD with the current bounds on neutron star masses, the Equation of State of neutron star matter can be obtained to an accuracy better than 30% at all densities.

  6. Thermonuclear runaways in thick hydrogen rich envelopes of neutron stars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Starrfield, S. G.; Kenyon, S.; Truran, J. W.; Sparks, W. M.

    1981-01-01

    A Lagrangian, fully implicit, one dimensional hydrodynamic computer code was used to evolve thermonuclear runaways in the accreted hydrogen rich envelopes of 1.0 Msub solar neutron stars with radii of 10 km and 20 km. Simulations produce outbursts which last from about 750 seconds to about one week. Peak effective temeratures and luninosities were 26 million K and 80 thousand Lsub solar for the 10 km study and 5.3 millison and 600 Lsub solar for the 20 km study. Hydrodynamic expansion on the 10 km neutron star produced a precursor lasting about one ten thousandth seconds.

  7. A New Deep, Hard X-ray Survey of M31: Monitoring Black Hole and Neutron Star Accretion States in the X-ray Binary Population of Our Nearest Neighbor

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wik, Daniel R.; Hornschemeier, Ann E.; Yukita, Mihoko; Ptak, Andrew; Lehmer, Bret; Maccarone, Thomas J.; Antoniou, Vallia; Zezas, Andreas; Harrison, Fiona; Stern, Daniel; Venters, Tonia M.; Williams, Benjamin F.; Eracleous, Michael; Plucinsky, Paul P.; Pooley, David A.

    2016-01-01

    X-ray binaries (XRBs) trace old and new stellar populations in galaxies, and thus star formation history and star formation rate. X-ray emission from XRBs may be responsible for significant amounts of heating of the early Intergalactic Medium at Cosmic Dawn and may also play a significant role in reionization. Until recently, the hard emission from these populations could only be studied for XRBs in our own galaxy, where it is often difficult to measure accurate distances and thus luminosities. The launch of NuSTAR, the first focusing hard X-ray observatory, has allowed us to resolve the brightest XRBs (down to LX ~ few times 1038 erg/s) in galaxies like NGC 253, M83, and M82 up to 4 Mpc away. To reach much lower X-ray luminosities that are more typical of XRBs in the Milky Way (LX <~ 1037 erg/s), we have observed M31 in 3 NuSTAR fields, up to 5 visits apiece for more than 1 Ms total exposure, mostly within the footprint of the Panchromatic Hubble Andromeda Treasury (PHAT) Survey. Our monitoring campaign reveals over 40 accreting black holes and neutron stars -- distinguished from each other by their spectral shape in the hard band -- some of which undergo state changes over the month-long timescales captured by our legacy survey to date. We also discuss implications for this updated understanding of XRB populations on early-Universe measurements in, e.g., the 7 Ms Chandra Deep Field survey.

  8. Chandra Captures Neutron Star Action

    NASA Video Gallery

    This movie from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory shows a fast moving jet of particles produced by a rapidly rotating neutron star, and may provide new insight into the nature of some of the densest...

  9. Children's Literature on Neutron Stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Struck, James

    Children's literature is simple discussion of complicated issues. Neutron stars are discussed in several children's books. Using libraries in Chicago, I will review children's books on neutron stars and compare the literature to literature from scientific discussions of neutron stars on sites like the Chandra site, Hubble Space Telescope site and NASA site. The result will be a discussion of problems and issues involved in discussion of neutron stars. Do children's books leave material out? Do children's books discuss recent observations? Do children's books discuss anything discredited or wrong? How many children's books are in resources like World Cat, the Library of Congress catalog, and the Chicago Public Library catalog? Could children's books be useful to present some of your findings or observations or projects? Children's books are useful for both children and scientist as they present simplified discussion of topics, although sometimes issues are simplified too much.

  10. Neutron stars and strange matter

    SciTech Connect

    Cooperstein, J.

    1986-01-01

    The likelihood is investigated that quark matter with strangeness of order unity resides in neutron stars. In the strong coupling regime near rho/sub 0/ this is found to be unlikely. Considering higher densities where perturbative expansions are used, we find a lower bound to be at 7rho/sub 0/ for the transition density. This is higher than the inferred density of observed neutron stars, and thus the transition to quark matter is precluded. 15 refs., 3 figs.

  11. Thermonuclear Burning as a Probe of Neutron Star

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Strohmayer, Tod

    2008-01-01

    Thermonuclear fusion is a fundamental process taking place in the matter transferred onto neutron stars in accreting binary systems. The heat deposited by nuclear reactions becomes readily visible in the X-ray band when the burning is either unstable or marginally stable, and results in the rich phenomenology of X-ray bursts, superbursts, and mHz quasiperiodic oscillations. Fast X-ray timing observations with NASA's Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) over the past decade have revealed a wealth of new phenomena associated with thermonuclear burning on neutron stars, including the discovery of nuclear powered pulsations during X-ray bursts and superbursts. I will briefly review our current observational and theoretical understanding of these new phenomena, with an emphasis on recent findings, and discuss what they are telling us about the structure of neutron stars.

  12. Equilibrium spin pulsars unite neutron star populations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ho, Wynn; Klus, Helen; Coe, Malcolm; Andersson, Nils

    2015-08-01

    We compare the large number of recent torque measurements of accreting pulsars with a high-mass companion to the standard model for how accretion affects the pulsar spin period. We find that many long spin period (P > 100 s) pulsars must possess either extremely weak (B < 10^10 G) or extremely strong (B > 10^14 G) magnetic fields. We argue that the strong-field solution is more compelling, in which case these pulsars are near spin equilibrium. Our results provide evidence for a fundamental link between pulsars with the slowest spin periods and strong magnetic fields around high-mass companions and pulsars with the fastest spin periods and weak fields around low-mass companions. The strong magnetic fields also connect our pulsars to magnetars and strong-field isolated radio/X-ray pulsars. The strong field and old age of our sources suggests their magnetic field penetrates into the superconducting core of the neutron star.

  13. Demonstrating the likely neutron star nature of five M31 globular cluster sources with Swift-NuSTAR spectroscopy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maccarone, Thomas J.; Yukita, Mihoko; Hornschemeier, Ann; Lehmer, Bret D.; Antoniou, Vallia; Ptak, Andrew; Wik, Daniel R.; Zezas, Andreas; Boyd, Padi; Kennea, Jamie; Page, Kim L.; Eracleous, Mike; Williams, Benjamin F.; Boggs, Steven E.; Christensen, Finn E.; Craig, William W.; Hailey, Charles J.; Harrison, Fiona A.; Stern, Daniel; Zhang, William W.

    2016-06-01

    We present the results of a joint Swift-NuSTAR spectroscopy campaign on M31. We focus on the five brightest globular cluster X-ray sources in our fields. Two of these had previously been argued to be black hole candidates on the basis of apparent hard-state spectra at luminosities above those for which neutron stars are in hard states. We show that these two sources are likely to be Z-sources (i.e. low magnetic field neutron stars accreting near their Eddington limits), or perhaps bright atoll sources (low magnetic field neutron stars which are just a bit fainter than this level) on the basis of simultaneous Swift and NuSTAR spectra which cover a broader range of energies. These new observations reveal spectral curvature above 6-8 keV that would be hard to detect without the broader energy coverage the NuSTAR data provide relative to Chandra and XMM-Newton. We show that the other three sources are also likely to be bright neutron star X-ray binaries, rather than black hole X-ray binaries. We discuss why it should already have been realized that it was unlikely that these objects were black holes on the basis of their being persistent sources, and we re-examine past work which suggested that tidal capture products would be persistently bright X-ray emitters. We discuss how this problem is likely due to neglecting disc winds in older work that predict which systems will be persistent and which will be transient.

  14. The neutron star mass distribution

    SciTech Connect

    Kiziltan, Bülent; Kottas, Athanasios; De Yoreo, Maria; Thorsett, Stephen E.

    2013-11-20

    In recent years, the number of pulsars with secure mass measurements has increased to a level that allows us to probe the underlying neutron star (NS) mass distribution in detail. We critically review the radio pulsar mass measurements. For the first time, we are able to analyze a sizable population of NSs with a flexible modeling approach that can effectively accommodate a skewed underlying distribution and asymmetric measurement errors. We find that NSs that have evolved through different evolutionary paths reflect distinctive signatures through dissimilar distribution peak and mass cutoff values. NSs in double NS and NS-white dwarf (WD) systems show consistent respective peaks at 1.33 M {sub ☉} and 1.55 M {sub ☉}, suggesting significant mass accretion (Δm ≈ 0.22 M {sub ☉}) has occurred during the spin-up phase. The width of the mass distribution implied by double NS systems is indicative of a tight initial mass function while the inferred mass range is significantly wider for NSs that have gone through recycling. We find a mass cutoff at ∼2.1 M {sub ☉} for NSs with WD companions, which establishes a firm lower bound for the maximum NS mass. This rules out the majority of strange quark and soft equation of state models as viable configurations for NS matter. The lack of truncation close to the maximum mass cutoff along with the skewed nature of the inferred mass distribution both enforce the suggestion that the 2.1 M {sub ☉} limit is set by evolutionary constraints rather than nuclear physics or general relativity, and the existence of rare supermassive NSs is possible.

  15. Thermonuclear runaways in thick hydrogen rich envelopes of neutron stars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Starrfield, S.; Kenyon, S.; Truran, J. W.; Sparks, W. M.

    1982-01-01

    A Lagrangian, fully implicit, one-dimensional hydrodynamic computer code is used to evolve thermonuclear runaways in the accreted hydrogen-rich envelopes of 1.0-solar-mass neutron stars with radii of 10 km and 20 km. The simulations produce outbursts lasting from approximately 750 seconds to approximately one week. The peak effective temperatures and luminosities are 2.6 x 10 to the 7th K and 8 x 10 to the 4th solar luminosities for the 10 km study and 5.3 x 10 to the 6th K and 600 solar luminosities for the 20 km study. It is found that hydrodynamic expansion on the 10 km neutron star produced a precursor lasting approximately 0.0001 second. The study assumes that the bursters and transient X-ray sources occur as a result of mass transfer from a secondary onto a neutron star in a fashion analogous to the nova phenomena. The peak temperatures and luminosities are found to be inversely proportional to the radius of the neutron stars and the calculations here, together with those in the literature, indicate that the actual radii of most neutron stars must be closer to 10 km than 20 km.

  16. Spectral formation in black hole and neutron star binaries: theory vs observations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gilfanov, Marat

    2016-07-01

    I will discuss spectral formation in X-ray binaries with particular emphasis on the dichotomy between black holes and neutron stars. Predictions of theoretical models will be confronted with observations of compact X-ray sources in the Milky Way and beyond. I will discuss how the difference in the nature of the compact object leads to observable differences between accreting neutron stars and black holes and how accretion regimes change across the mass accretion rate range. This will be illustrated with observations of X-ray binaries in the Milky Way and external galaxies, the latter providing us with a unique possibility to explore accretion at its extremities.

  17. Equilibrium spin pulsars unite neutron star populations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ho, Wynn C. G.; Klus, H.; Coe, M. J.; Andersson, Nils

    2014-02-01

    Many pulsars are formed with a binary companion from which they can accrete matter. Torque exerted by accreting matter can cause the pulsar spin to increase or decrease, and over long times, an equilibrium spin rate is achieved. Application of accretion theory to these systems provides a probe of the pulsar magnetic field. We compare the large number of recent torque measurements of accreting pulsars with a high-mass companion to the standard model for how accretion affects the pulsar spin period. We find that many long spin period (P ≳ 100 s) pulsars must possess either extremely weak (B < 1010 G) or extremely strong (B > 1014 G) magnetic fields. We argue that the strong-field solution is more compelling, in which case these pulsars are near spin equilibrium. Our results provide evidence for a fundamental link between pulsars with the slowest spin periods and strong magnetic fields around high-mass companions and pulsars with the fastest spin periods and weak fields around low-mass companions. The strong magnetic fields also connect our pulsars to magnetars and strong-field isolated radio/X-ray pulsars. The strong field and old age of our sources suggest their magnetic field penetrates into the superconducting core of the neutron star.

  18. A CHANGE IN THE QUIESCENT X-RAY SPECTRUM OF THE NEUTRON STAR LOW-MASS X-RAY BINARY MXB 1659-29

    SciTech Connect

    Cackett, E. M.; Brown, E. F.; Cumming, A.; Degenaar, N.; Miller, J. M.; Fridriksson, J. K.; Wijnands, R.; Homan, J.

    2013-09-10

    The quasi-persistent neutron star low-mass X-ray binary MXB 1659-29 went into quiescence in 2001, and we have followed its quiescent X-ray evolution since. Observations over the first 4 yr showed a rapid drop in flux and temperature of the neutron star atmosphere, interpreted as cooling of the neutron star crust which had been heated during the 2.5 yr outburst. However, observations taken approximately 1400 and 2400 days into quiescence were consistent with each other, suggesting the crust had reached thermal equilibrium with the core. Here we present a new Chandra observation of MXB 1659-29 taken 11 yr into quiescence and 4 yr since the last Chandra observation. This new observation shows an unexpected factor of {approx}3 drop in count rate and change in spectral shape since the last observation, which cannot be explained simply by continued cooling. Two possible scenarios are that either the neutron star temperature has remained unchanged and there has been an increase in the column density, or, alternatively the neutron star temperature has dropped precipitously and the spectrum is now dominated by a power-law component. The first scenario may be possible given that MXB 1659-29 is a near edge-on system, and an increase in column density could be due to build-up of material in, and a thickening of, a truncated accretion disk during quiescence. But, a large change in disk height may not be plausible if standard accretion disk theory holds during quiescence. Alternatively, the disk may be precessing, leading to a higher column density during this latest observation.

  19. Rapidly rotating neutron star progenitors

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Postnov, K. A.; Kuranov, A. G.; Kolesnikov, D. A.; Popov, S. B.; Porayko, N. K.

    2016-08-01

    Rotating proto-neutron stars can be important sources of gravitational waves to be searched for by present-day and future interferometric detectors. It was demonstrated by Imshennik that in extreme cases the rapid rotation of a collapsing stellar core may lead to fission and formation of a binary proto-neutron star which subsequently merges due to gravitational wave emission. In the present paper, we show that such dynamically unstable collapsing stellar cores may be the product of a former merger process of two stellar cores in a common envelope. We applied population synthesis calculations to assess the expected fraction of such rapidly rotating stellar cores which may lead to fission and formation of a pair of proto-neutron stars. We have used the BSE population synthesis code supplemented with a new treatment of stellar core rotation during the evolution via effective core-envelope coupling, characterized by the coupling time, τc. The validity of this approach is checked by direct MESA calculations of the evolution of a rotating 15 M⊙ star. From comparison of the calculated spin distribution of young neutron stars with the observed one, reported by Popov and Turolla, we infer the value τc ≃ 5 × 105 years. We show that merging of stellar cores in common envelopes can lead to collapses with dynamically unstable proto-neutron stars, with their formation rate being ˜0.1 - 1% of the total core collapses, depending on the common envelope efficiency.

  20. Non-identical neutron star twins

    SciTech Connect

    Glendenning, Norman K.; Kettner, Christiane

    1998-07-01

    The work of J. A. Wheeler in the mid 1960's showed that forsmooth equations of state no stable stellar configurations with centraldensities above that corresponding to the limiting mass of 'neutronstars' (in the generic sense) were stable against acoustical vibrationalmodes. A perturbation would cause any such star to collapse to a blackhole or explode. Accordingly, there has been no reason to expect that astable degenerate family of stars with higher density than the knownwhite dwarfs and neutron stars might exist. We have found a class ofexceptions corresponding to certain equations of state that describe afirst order phase transition. We discuss how such a higher density familyof stars could be formed in nature, and how the promising new explorationof oscillations in the X-ray brightness of accreting neutron stars mightprovide a means of identifying them. Our proof of the possible existenceof a third family of degenerate stars is one of principle and rests ongeneral principles like causality, microstability of matter and GeneralRelativity.

  1. Physics of systems containing neutron stars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ruderman, Malvin

    1996-01-01

    This grant dealt with several topics related to the dynamics of systems containing a compact object. Most of the research dealt with systems containing Neutron Stars (NS's), but a Black Hole (BH) or a White Dwarf (WD) in situations relevant to NS systems were also addressed. Among the systems were isolated regular pulsars, Millisecond Pulsars (MSP's) that are either Single (SMP's) or in a binary (BMP's), Low Mass X-Ray Binaries (LMXB's) and Cataclysmic Variables (CV's). Also dealt with was one aspect of NS structure, namely NS superfluidity. A large fraction of the research dealt with irradiation-driven winds from companions which turned out to be of importance in the evolution of LMXB's and MSP's, be they SMP's or BMP's. While their role during LMXB evolution (i.e. during the accretion phase) is not yet clear, they may play an important role in turning BMP's into SMP's and also in bringing about the formation of planets around MSP's. Work was concentrated on the following four problems: The Windy Pulsar B197+20 and its Evolution; Wind 'Echoes' in Tight Binaries; Post Nova X-ray Emission in CV's; and Dynamics of Pinned Superfluids in Neutron Stars.

  2. Anomalous hydrodynamics kicks neutron stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kaminski, Matthias; Uhlemann, Christoph F.; Bleicher, Marcus; Schaffner-Bielich, Jürgen

    2016-09-01

    Observations show that, at the beginning of their existence, neutron stars are accelerated briskly to velocities of up to a thousand kilometers per second. We argue that this remarkable effect can be explained as a manifestation of quantum anomalies on astrophysical scales. To theoretically describe the early stage in the life of neutron stars we use hydrodynamics as a systematic effective-field-theory framework. Within this framework, anomalies of the Standard Model of particle physics as underlying microscopic theory imply the presence of a particular set of transport terms, whose form is completely fixed by theoretical consistency. The resulting chiral transport effects in proto-neutron stars enhance neutrino emission along the internal magnetic field, and the recoil can explain the order of magnitude of the observed kick velocities.

  3. Kicked Neutron Stars and Microlensing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mollerach, Silvia; Roulet, Esteban

    1997-04-01

    Because of the large kick velocities with which neutron stars are born in supernova explosions, their spatial distribution is more extended than that of their progenitor stars. The large scale height of the neutron stars above the disk plane makes them potential candidates for microlensing of stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Adopting for the distribution of kicks the measured velocities of young pulsars, we obtain a microlensing optical depth of τ ~ 2N10 × 10-8 (where N10 is the total number of neutron stars born in the disk in units of 1010). The event duration distribution has the interesting property of being peaked at T ~ 60-80 days, but for the rates to be relevant for the present microlensing searches, it would require N10 >~ 1, a value larger than the usually adopted ones (N10 ~ 0.1-0.2).

  4. SPINDOWN OF ISOLATED NEUTRON STARS: GRAVITATIONAL WAVES OR MAGNETIC BRAKING?

    SciTech Connect

    Staff, Jan E.; Jaikumar, Prashanth; Chan, Vincent; Ouyed, Rachid

    2012-05-20

    We study the spindown of isolated neutron stars from initially rapid rotation rates, driven by two factors: (1) gravitational wave emission due to r-modes and (2) magnetic braking. In the context of isolated neutron stars, we present the first study including self-consistently the magnetic damping of r-modes in the spin evolution. We track the spin evolution employing the RNS code, which accounts for the rotating structure of neutron stars for various equations of state. We find that, despite the strong damping due to the magnetic field, r-modes alter the braking rate from pure magnetic braking for B {<=} 10{sup 13} G. For realistic values of the saturation amplitude {alpha}{sub sat}, the r-mode can also decrease the time to reach the threshold central density for quark deconfinement. Within a phenomenological model, we assess the gravitational waveform that would result from r-mode-driven spindown of a magnetized neutron star. To contrast with the persistent signal during the spindown phase, we also present a preliminary estimate of the transient gravitational wave signal from an explosive quark-hadron phase transition, which can be a signal for the deconfinement of quarks inside neutron stars.

  5. Merging ``real'' neutron stars for gravitational waves and electromagnetic counterparts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Duez, Matthew

    2014-03-01

    Having more-or-less succeeded in learning to stably evolve Einstein's equations, numerical relativity is taking the leap to including the physics of neutron stars, which will enable us to construct truly realistic pictures of neutron star-neutron star and black hole-neutron star binary mergers. The neutron star profile affects late inspirals and mergers, leaving its imprint on gravitational waveforms and electromagnetic counterpart signals. Furthermore, we expect neutrino radiation, magnetic field, and nuclear recombination effects to drive the post-merger evolution. In this talk, I will describe some recent neutron star merger simulations combining nuclear physics and general relativity. The goal is to connect assumptions about the nuclear equation of state and the premerger binary to resulting binary trajectories, matter outflows, accretion disk dynamics, and neutrino energy output. These can then hopefully be connected to observable signals in the form of gravitational waves, kilonovae, and gamma ray bursts. It is found that an interesting variety of disks, outflows, and neutrino bursts are possible. Connections to observables are being attempted by tracking nuclear reactions in tidal ejecta and estimating energy injection to gamma ray bursts from neutrino annihilation and other sources. Meanwhile, non-vacuum inspiral simulations are finally approaching the length and accuracy needed for interesting comparisons with binary black hole waveforms and post-Newtonian predictions, these being steps toward a reliable characterization of the imprint of the nuclear equation of state on the gravitational waves. The speaker acknowledges support from NASA Grant No. NNX11AC37G and NSF Grant PHY-1068243.

  6. Observational results from cooling neutron stars in X-ray binaries

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Degenaar, Nathalie

    2016-07-01

    The composition and structure of the ~1 km thick, solid crust of neutron stars is responsible for many of their observable properties, and plays a fundamental role in the emission of gravitational waves and the evolution of their magnetic field. When residing in an X-ray binary, a neutron star accretes gas from a companion star. As matter accumulates on the neutron star surface, the underlying crust is compressed and heated due to nuclear reactions induced by this compression. Once accretion switches off, sensitive X-ray satellites can be employed to observe how the heated crust cools. Comparing these observations with theoretical simulations provides very valuable insight into the structure and composition of the crusts of neutron stars. I will present the latest observational results and challenges in this research field.

  7. Low-frequency quasi-periodic oscillations in black hole and neutron star LMXBs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ingram, Adam

    2016-07-01

    Low-frequency quasi-periodic oscillations (QPOs) are routinely seen in the X-ray flux of accreting black holes and neutron stars. Since the QPO frequency correlates with the low frequency power spectral break in the same manner for both object classes, it is reasonable to believe that these oscillations have the same physical origin in neutron stars as they do in black holes. However, recent successes in modelling black hole low frequency QPOs as Lense-Thirring precession contrast sharply with failures of the same model in neutron stars. This could be attributable to the significant extra complexity, both in the physics and in the observed power spectra, of accreting neutron stars when compared with black holes. Alternatively, the QPO mechanism really is the same for the two object classes, but in that case, why does the Lense-Thirring model work so well for black holes? I will review the current state of this field.

  8. Neutron star moments of inertia

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ravenhall, D. G.; Pethick, C. J.

    1994-01-01

    An approximation for the moment of inertia of a neutron star in terms of only its mass and radius is presented, and insight into it is obtained by examining the behavior of the relativistic structural equations. The approximation is accurate to approximately 10% for a variety of nuclear equations of state, for all except very low mass stars. It is combined with information about the neutron-star crust to obtain a simple expression (again in terms only of mass and radius) for the fractional moment of inertia of the crust.

  9. The nuclear physics of neutron stars

    SciTech Connect

    Piekarewicz, J.

    2014-05-09

    We explore the unique and fascinating structure of neutron stars. Although neutron stars are of interest in many areas of Physics, our aim is to provide an intellectual bridge between Nuclear Physics and Astrophysics. We argue against the naive perception of a neutron star as a uniform assembly of neutrons packed to enormous densities. Rather, by focusing on the many exotic phases that are speculated to exist in a neutron star, we show how the reality is different and far more interesting.

  10. Converting neutron stars into strange stars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Olinto, A. V.

    1991-01-01

    If strange matter is formed in the interior of a neutron star, it will convert the entire neutron star into a strange star. The proposed mechanisms are reviewed for strange matter seeding and the possible strange matter contamination of neutron star progenitors. The conversion process that follows seeding and the recent calculations of the conversion timescale are discussed.

  11. Theory of cooling neutron stars versus observations

    SciTech Connect

    Yakovlev, D. G.; Gnedin, O. Y.; Kaminker, A. D.; Potekhin, A. Y.

    2008-02-27

    We review current state of neutron star cooling theory and discuss the prospects to constrain the equation of state, neutrino emission and superfluid properties of neutron star cores by comparing the cooling theory with observations of thermal radiation from isolated neutron stars.

  12. Nuclear Physics of neutron stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Piekarewicz, Jorge

    2015-04-01

    One of the overarching questions posed by the recent community report entitled ``Nuclear Physics: Exploring the Heart of Matter'' asks How Does Subatomic Matter Organize Itself and What Phenomena Emerge? With their enormous dynamic range in both density and neutron-proton asymmetry, neutron stars provide ideal laboratories to answer this critical challenge. Indeed, a neutron star is a gold mine for the study of physical phenomena that cut across a variety of disciplines, from particle physics to general relativity. In this presentation--targeted at non-experts--I will focus on the essential role that nuclear physics plays in constraining the dynamics, structure, and composition of neutron stars. In particular, I will discuss some of the many exotic states of matter that are speculated to exist in a neutron star and the impact of nuclear-physics experiments on elucidating their fascinating nature. This material is based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, Office of Nuclear Physics under Award Number DE-FD05-92ER40750.

  13. Eccentric Mergers of Black Holes with Spinning Neutron Stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    East, William E.; Paschalidis, Vasileios; Pretorius, Frans

    2015-07-01

    We study dynamical capture binary black hole-neutron star (BH-NS) mergers focusing on the effects of the neutron star spin. These events may arise in dense stellar regions, such as globular clusters, where the majority of neutron stars are expected to be rapidly rotating. We initialize the BH-NS systems with positions and velocities corresponding to marginally unbound Newtonian orbits, and evolve them using general-relativistic hydrodynamical simulations. We find that even moderate spins can significantly increase the amount of mass in unbound material. In some of the more extreme cases, there can be up to a third of a solar mass in unbound matter. Similarly, large amounts of tidally stripped material can remain bound and eventually accrete onto the BH—as much as a tenth of a solar mass in some cases. These simulations demonstrate that it is important to treat neutron star spin in order to make reliable predictions of the gravitational wave and electromagnetic transient signals accompanying these sources.

  14. The thermonuclear-flash model for X-ray burst sources - A new tool for observing neutron stars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Joss, P. C.

    1979-01-01

    The helium-flash model for X-ray burst sources, in which matter is presumed to accrete onto the surface of a neutron star, is discussed. Attention is given to the accretion process, nuclear burning, X-ray emission, and the energy released by convection as well as by radiative diffusion near the surface. The rise times of observed bursts, their spectral evolution, and the properties of the spectrally soft X-ray transients are considered. Problems in interpreting the continuum spectra are discussed, along with problems in the detection and measurement of line features in the spectra. Also considered are the ratio of time-averaged persistent luminosity to time-averaged burst luminosity, peak burst luminosities, and the possibility of detecting binary membership for burst sources.

  15. Modelling magnetically deformed neutron stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Haskell, B.; Samuelsson, L.; Glampedakis, K.; Andersson, N.

    2008-03-01

    Rotating deformed neutron stars are important potential sources for ground-based gravitational wave interferometers such as LIGO, GEO600 and VIRGO. One mechanism that may lead to significant non-asymmetries is the internal magnetic field. It is well known that a magnetic star will not be spherical and, if the magnetic axis is not aligned with the spin axis, the deformation will lead to the emission of gravitational waves. The aim of this paper is to develop a formalism that would allow us to model magnetically deformed stars, using both realistic equations of state and field configurations. As a first step, we consider a set of simplified model problems. Focusing on dipolar fields, we determine the internal magnetic field which is consistent with a given neutron star model and calculate the associated deformation. We discuss the relevance of our results for current gravitational wave detectors and future prospects.

  16. Quantum crystals in neutron stars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Canuto, V.; Chitre, S. M.

    1974-01-01

    Using the many-body techniques appropriate for quantum crystals it is shown that the deep interior of a neutron star is most likely an orderly arrangement of neutrons, protons and hyperons forming a solid. It is shown that a liquid or gas arrangement would produce higher energy. If so, a neutron star can be viewed as two solids (crust and core) permeated by a layer of ordinary or (perhaps) superfluid liquid. Astronomical evidence is in favor of such a structure: the sudden jumps in the periods of the Crab and Vela pulsars that differ by a factor of about 100 can be easily explained by the star-quake model. If the Crab is less massive than Vela (i.e., if it is not dense enough to have a solid core), the star-quakes take place in the crust whereas for Vela they occur in the core.

  17. Neutron star equation of state and QPO observations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Urbanec, Martin; Stuchlík, Zdeněk; Török, Gabriel; Bakala, Pavel; Čermák, Petr

    2007-12-01

    Assuming a resonant origin of the twin peak quasiperiodic oscillations observed in the X-ray neutron star binary systems, we apply a genetic algorithm method for selection of neutron star models. It was suggested that pairs of kilohertz peaks in the X-ray Fourier power density spectra of some neutron stars reflect a non-linear resonance between two modes of accretion disk oscillations. We investigate this concept for a specific neutron star source. Each neutron star model is characterized by the equation of state (EOS), rotation frequency Ω and central energy density rho_{c}. These determine the spacetime structure governing geodesic motion and position dependent radial and vertical epicyclic oscillations related to the stable circular geodesics. Particular kinds of resonances (KR) between the oscillations with epicyclic frequencies, or the frequencies derived from them, can take place at special positions assigned ambiguously to the spacetime structure. The pairs of resonant eigenfrequencies relevant to those positions are therefore fully given by KR, rho_{c}, Ω, EOS and can be compared to the observationally determined pairs of eigenfrequencies in order to eliminate the unsatisfactory sets (KR, rho_{c}, Ω, EOS). For the elimination we use the advanced genetic algorithm. Genetic algorithm comes out from the method of natural selection when subjects with the best adaptation to assigned conditions have most chances to survive. The chosen genetic algorithm with sexual reproduction contains one chromosome with restricted lifetime, uniform crossing and genes of type 3/3/5. For encryption of physical description (KR, rho_{c}, Ω, EOS) into the chromosome we use the Gray code. As a fitness function we use correspondence between the observed and calculated pairs of eigenfrequencies.

  18. QPO observations related to neutron star equations of state

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stuchlik, Zdenek; Urbanec, Martin; Török, Gabriel; Bakala, Pavel; Cermak, Petr

    We apply a genetic algorithm method for selection of neutron star models relating them to the resonant models of the twin peak quasiperiodic oscillations observed in the X-ray neutron star binary systems. It was suggested that pairs of kilo-hertz peaks in the X-ray Fourier power density spectra of some neutron stars reflect a non-linear resonance between two modes of accretion disk oscillations. We investigate this concept for a specific neutron star source. Each neutron star model is characterized by the equation of state (EOS), rotation frequency Ω and central energy density ρc . These determine the spacetime structure governing geodesic motion and position dependent radial and vertical epicyclic oscillations related to the stable circular geodesics. Particular kinds of resonances (KR) between the oscillations with epicyclic frequencies, or the frequencies derived from them, can take place at special positions assigned ambiguously to the spacetime structure. The pairs of resonant eigenfrequencies relevant to those positions are therefore fully given by KR,ρc , Ω, EOS and can be compared to the observationally determined pairs of eigenfrequencies in order to eliminate the unsatisfactory sets (KR,ρc , Ω, EOS). For the elimination we use the advanced genetic algorithm. Genetic algorithm comes out from the method of natural selection when subjects with the best adaptation to assigned conditions have most chances to survive. The chosen genetic algorithm with sexual reproduction contains one chromosome with restricted lifetime, uniform crossing and genes of type 3/3/5. For encryption of physical description (KR,ρ, Ω, EOS) into chromosome we used Gray code. As a fitness function we use correspondence between the observed and calculated pairs of eigenfrequencies.

  19. Nuclear fusion and carbon flashes on neutron stars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Taam, R. E.; Picklum, R. E.

    1978-01-01

    This paper reports on detailed calculations of the thermal evolution of the carbon-burning shells in the envelopes of accreting neutron stars for mass-accretion rates of 1 hundred-billionth to 2 billionths of a solar mass per yr and neutron-star masses of 0.56 and 1.41 solar masses. The work of Hansen and Van Horn (1975) is extended to higher densities, and a more detailed treatment of nuclear processing in the hydrogen- and helium-burning regions is included. Results of steady-state calculations are presented, and results of time-dependent computations are examined for accretion rates of 3 ten-billionths and 1 billionth of solar mass per yr. It is found that two evolutionary sequences lead to carbon flashes and that the carbon abundance at the base of the helium shell is a strong function of accretion rate. Upper limits are placed on the accretion rates at which carbon flashes will be important.

  20. Oscillations During Thermonuclear X-ray Bursts: A New Probe of Neutron Stars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Strohmayer, Tod E.; White, Nicholas E. (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    Observations of thermonuclear (also called Type 1) X-ray bursts from neutron stars in low mass X-ray binaries (LMXB) with the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) have revealed large amplitude, high coherence X-ray brightness oscillations with frequencies in the 300 - 600 Hz range. Substantial spectral and timing evidence point to rotational modulation of the X-ray burst flux as the cause of these oscillations, and it is likely that they reveal the spin frequencies of neutron stars in LMXB from which they are detected. Here we review the status of our knowledge of these oscillations and describe how they can be used to constrain the masses and radii of neutron stars as well as the physics of thermonuclear burning on accreting neutron stars.

  1. Collapse of magnetized hypermassive neutron stars in general relativity.

    PubMed

    Duez, Matthew D; Liu, Yuk Tung; Shapiro, Stuart L; Shibata, Masaru; Stephens, Branson C

    2006-01-27

    Hypermassive neutron stars (HMNSs)--equilibrium configurations supported against collapse by rapid differential rotation--are possible transient remnants of binary neutron-star mergers. Using newly developed codes for magnetohydrodynamic simulations in dynamical spacetimes, we are able to track the evolution of a magnetized HMNS in full general relativity for the first time. We find that secular angular momentum transport due to magnetic braking and the magnetorotational instability results in the collapse of an HMNS to a rotating black hole, accompanied by a gravitational wave burst. The nascent black hole is surrounded by a hot, massive torus undergoing quasistationary accretion and a collimated magnetic field. This scenario suggests that HMNS collapse is a possible candidate for the central engine of short gamma-ray bursts. PMID:16486677

  2. Gravitational Redshift of Deformed Neutron Stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Romero, Alexis; Zubairi, Omair; Weber, Fridolin

    2015-04-01

    Non-rotating neutron stars are generally treated in theoretical studies as perfect spheres. Such a treatment, however, may not be correct if strong magnetic fields are present and/or the pressure of the matter in the cores of neutron stars is non-isotropic, leading to neutron stars which are deformed. In this work, we investigate the impact of deformation on the gravitational redshift of neutron stars in the framework of general relativity. Using a parameterized metric to model non-spherical mass distributions, we derive an expression for the gravitational redshift in terms of the mass, radius, and deformity of a neutron star. Numerical solutions for the redshifts of sequences of deformed neutron stars are presented and observational implications are pointed out. This research is funded by the NIH through the Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC), under Grant Number: 5T34GM008303-25 and through the National Science Foundation under grant PHY-1411708.

  3. Burst Oscillations: Watching Neutron Stars Spin

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Strohmayer, Tod

    2010-01-01

    It is now almost 15 years since the first detection of rotationally modulated emission from X-ray bursting neutron stars, "burst oscillations," This phenomenon enables us to see neutron stars spin, as the X-ray burst flux asymmetrically lights up the surface. It has enabled a new way to probe the neutron star spin frequency distribution, as well as to elucidate the multidimensional nature of nuclear burning on neutron stars. I will review our current observational understanding of the phenomenon, with an eye toward highlighting some of the interesting remaining puzzles, of which there is no shortage.

  4. Hard X-ray spectra of neutron stars and black hole candidates

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Durouchoux, P.; Mahoney, W.; Clenet, Y.; Ling, J.; Wallyn, P.; Wheaton, W.; Corbet, S.; Chapuis, C.

    1997-01-01

    The hard X-ray behavior of several X-ray binary systems containing a neutron star or a black hole candidate is analyzed in an attempt to determine the specific signature of these categories of compact objects. Limiting the consideration to two subclasses of neutron stars, Atoll sources and non-pulsating Z sources, it appears that only the Atoll sources have a spectral behavior similar to black holes. It is proposed that Atoll sources are weakly magnetized neutron stars, whereas Z sources are small radius moderate magnetized neutron stars. Large magnetic fields funnel the accreting matter, thus preventing spherical accretion and free fall if the neutron star radius is smaller than the last stable accreting orbit. Weak magnetic fields do not have this effect, and blackbody soft photons from the stellar surface are upscattered on the relativistic infalling matter, leading to excess hard X-rays. This excess is visible in two of the observed Atoll sources and in the spectrum of a black hole candidate. In the case of a Z source, a lack of photons was remarked, providing a possible signature to distinguish between these classes of objects.

  5. Planetary Systems Around Neutron Stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wolszczan, Alexander

    1997-01-01

    This project was initiated in 1993, about one year after the announcement of two planets around PSR B1257+12. Its goal was to investigate planetary systems around neutron stars using high precision timing of radio pulsars as a tool. A microsecond precision of the pulse timing analysis, which is equivalent to a millimeter-per-second radial velocity resolution, makes it possible to detect asteroid-mass bodies in orbit around pulsars and to study the dynamics of pulsar planetary systems. The project originally consisted of two longterm efforts: (i) routine observations and timing analysis of the millisecond pulsar PSR B1257+12 which was found to be orbited by at least two earth-mass bodies (Wolszczan and Frail, Nature, 355, 145) and (ii) a sensitive all-sky search for millisecond pulsars to detect further examples of neutron stars with planetary systems. In the third year of the project, it was expanded to include long-term timing observations of slow pulsars in search for planetary systems around these younger neutron stars. The instrumentation used to conduct these investigations included the 305-m Arecibo antenna with the Penn State Pulsar Machine (PSPM-1), the 100-m Effelsberg telescope with the local pulse timing hardware, and the 32-m paraboloid of the Torun Centre for Astronomy in Torun, Poland (TCFA) with the PSPM-2, the second pulsar machine built at Penn State. The PI's collaborators included pulsar groups led by D. Backer (Berkeley), R. Foster (NRL), S. Kulkarni (Caltech), J. Taylor (Princeton) and R. Wielebinski (Bonn). One postdoc (Stuart Anderson), one graduate student (Brian Cadwell) and several undergraduates have been engaged in various aspects of research related to this project.

  6. Evolutions of Magnetized Neutron Stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liebling, Steven; Anderson, Matthew; Hirschmann, Eric; Lehner, Luis; Motl, Patrick; Neilsen, David; Palenzuela, Carlos; Tohline, Joel

    2009-05-01

    Magnetized neutron stars, whether considered individually or within compact binary systems, demonstrate a number of interesting dynamical effects and may represent an important source of observable gravitational waves. In addition, isolated, rotating, magnetized stars serve as a good testbed for a necessarily complex, distributed adaptive mesh refinement (AMR) code. As initial data, we use fully consistent, magnetized, rotating stellar configurations generated with the Lorene toolkit. Here results are presented which (i) demonstrate convergence and stability of the code, (ii) show the evolution of stable and unstable magnetized stars, and (iii) study the effects of a scheme to track the leakage of neutrinos.

  7. Modeling the Spin Equilibrium of Neutron Stars in LMXBs Without Gravitational Radiation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Andersson, N.; Glampedakis, K.; Haskell, B.; Watts, A. L.

    2004-01-01

    In this paper we discuss the spin-equilibrium of accreting neutron stars in LMXBs. We demonstrate that, when combined with a naive spin-up torque, the observed data leads to inferred magnetic fields which are at variance with those of galactic millisecond radiopulsars. This indicates the need for either additional spin-down torques (eg. gravitational radiation) or an improved accretion model. We show that a simple consistent accretion model can be arrived at by accounting for radiation pressure in rapidly accreting systems (above a few percent of the Eddington accretion rate). In our model the inner disk region is thick and significantly sub-Keplerian, and the estimated equilibrium periods are such that the LMXB neutron stars have properties that accord well with the galactic millisecond radiopulsar sample. The implications for future gravitational-wave observations are also discussed briefly.

  8. Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICE)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gendreau, Keith C.; Arzoumanian, Zaven

    2008-01-01

    This viewgraph presentation contains an overview of the mission of the Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICE), a proposed International Space Station (ISS) payload dedicated ot the study of neutron stars. There are also reviews of the Science Objectives of the payload,the science measurements, the design and the expected performance for the instruments for NICE,

  9. Magnetic fields in Neutron Stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Viganò, D.; Pons, J. A.; Miralles, J. A.; Rea, N.

    2015-05-01

    Isolated neutron stars show a diversity in timing and spectral properties, which has historically led to a classification in different sub-classes. The magnetic field plays a key role in many aspects of the neutron star phenomenology: it regulates the braking torque responsible for their timing properties and, for magnetars, it provides the energy budget for the outburst activity and high quiescent luminosities (usually well above the rotational energy budget). We aim at unifying this observational variety by linking the results of the state-of-the-art 2D magneto-thermal simulations with observational data. The comparison between theory and observations allows to place two strong constraints on the physical properties of the inner crust. First, strong electrical currents must circulate in the crust, rather than in the star core. Second, the innermost part of the crust must be highly resistive, which is in principle in agreement with the presence of a novel phase of matter so-called nuclear pasta phase.

  10. Slowly braked, rotating neutron stars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sato, H.

    1975-01-01

    A slowly braked, rotating neutron star is believed to be a star which rapidly rotates, has no nebula, is nonpulsing, and has a long initial braking time of ten thousand to a million years because of a low magnetic field. Such an object might be observable as an extended weak source of infrared or radio wave radiation due to the scattering of low-frequency strong-wave photons by accelerated electrons. If these objects exist abundantly in the Galaxy, they would act as sources of relatively low-energy cosmic rays. Pulsars (rapidly braked neutron stars) are shown to have difficulties in providing an adequate amount of cosmic-ray matter, making these new sources seem necessary. The possibility that the acceleration mechanism around a slowly braked star may be not a direct acceleration by the strong wave but an acceleration due to plasma turbulence excited by the strong wave is briefly explored. It is shown that white dwarfs may also be slowly braked stars with braking times longer than 3.15 million years.

  11. On neutron star structure and the millisecond pulsar

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Harding, A. K.

    1983-01-01

    The recently discovered millisecond pulsar (PSR1937-214) is observed to be rotating close to the limit of dynamical instability for a neutron star. Despite its extremely rapid rotation, measurements of the period derivative put a stringent upper limit on the energy loss from gravitational radiation, thus requiring that the quadrupole moment be quite small. The pulsar must also be rotating below the critical frequency at which its equilibrium configuration would become non-axisymmetric, since the lifetime of this configuration against decay by gravitational radiation is very short. This critical frequency, given by the theory of rotating ellipsoids, imposes a restriction on the rotation rate more severe than the break-up frequency and may be used to set a lower limit, rho 2 x 10 to the 14th power g/cu cm, on the density of the star. If the mass is 0.5 - 1.5 solar mass, several of the stiffer neutron star equations of state may be ruled out, and the radius should be less than 16 km. The condition for axisymmetry also imposes an upper limit on the rotation rate to which neutron stars may be spun up by accretion disks in binary systems, a model recently proposed for the evolution of the millisecond pulsar.

  12. Gamma-ray bursts from neutron star detonation

    SciTech Connect

    Michel, F.C.

    1988-09-25

    A phenomenological gamma-ray burst model postulating the injection of 10/sup 51/--10/sup 53/ ergs into a neutron star by Paczyn-acute-accentski and by Goodman is closely reminiscent of what a relativistic version of a type I supernova might look like. Burning to tightly bound quark complexes (i.e., particles) could go explosively, just as the final burning of helium to iron disrupts a white darf in some models of type I supernovae. Particle theorists have for some years entertained the possibility that compressing nuclear matter may lead irreversibly to an exothermic formation of ''quark'' matter. From stellar evolution, we know that nuclear burning does not proceed directly to the known endpoint (iron) but is halted at various intermediate stages (e.g., at helium). Thus when the central densities of a neutron star begin to rise to that at which a transition to quark matter would be expected (10--20 times nuclear) owing to accretion or fusion with a companion neutron star, explosive burning may take place. Active galactic nuclei could be powered by such events and are therefore possible source regions. The particles themselves would be massive tightly bound bosons having zero spin, zero charge, and zero magnetic moment, hence could possible evidence themselves in the form of ''dark'' ( = nonluminous) matter or ''WIMPs'' (weakly interacting massive particles). The relativistic shocks from such events should accelerate cosmic rays more efficiently than the usual supernova shocks.

  13. Physics of systems containing neutron stars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shaham, Jacob

    1995-01-01

    This grant deals with several topics related to the dynamics of systems containing a compact object. Most of our research in 1994 dealt with systems containing Neutron Stars (NS's), but we also addressed systems containing a Black Hole (BH) or a White Dwarf (WD) in situations relevant to NS systems. Among the systems were isolated regular pulsars, Millisecond Pulsars (MSP's) that are either Single (SMP's) or in a binary (BMP's) Low Mass X-Ray Binaries (LMX's) and Cataclysmic Variables (CV's). We also dealt with one aspect of NS structure, namely NS superfluidity. A large fraction of our research dealt with irradiation-driven winds from companions. These winds turned out to be of some importance in the evolution of LMXB's and MSP's, be they SMP's or BMP's. While their role during LMXB evolution (i.e. during the accretion phase) is not yet clear, they may play an important role in turning BMP's into SMP's and also in bringing about the formation of planets around MSP's.

  14. A strongly heated neutron star in the transient z source MAXI J0556-332

    SciTech Connect

    Homan, Jeroen; Remillard, Ronald A.; Fridriksson, Joel K.; Wijnands, Rudy; Cackett, Edward M.; Degenaar, Nathalie; Linares, Manuel

    2014-11-10

    We present Chandra, XMM-Newton, and Swift observations of the quiescent neutron star in the transient low-mass X-ray binary MAXI J0556-332. Observations of the source made during outburst (with the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer) reveal tracks in its X-ray color-color and hardness-intensity diagrams that closely resemble those of the neutron-star Z sources, suggesting that MAXI J0556-332 had near- or super-Eddington luminosities for a large part of its ∼16 month outburst. A comparison of these diagrams with those of other Z sources suggests a source distance of 46 ± 15 kpc. Fits to the quiescent spectra of MAXI J0556-332 with a neutron-star atmosphere model (with or without a power-law component) result in distance estimates of 45 ± 3 kpc, for a neutron-star radius of 10 km and a mass of 1.4 M {sub ☉}. The spectra show the effective surface temperature of the neutron star decreasing monotonically over the first ∼500 days of quiescence, except for two observations that were likely affected by enhanced low-level accretion. The temperatures we obtain for the fits that include a power law (kT{sub eff}{sup ∞} = 184-308 eV) are much higher than those seen for any other neutron star heated by accretion, while the inferred cooling (e-folding) timescale (∼200 days) is similar to other sources. Fits without a power law yield higher temperatures (kT{sub eff}{sup ∞} = 190-336 eV) and a shorter e-folding time (∼160 days). Our results suggest that the heating of the neutron-star crust in MAXI J0556-332 was considerably more efficient than for other systems, possibly indicating additional or more efficient shallow heat sources in its crust.

  15. Merger of a Neutron Star with a Newtonian Black Hole

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lee, William H.; Kluzniak, Wlodzimierz

    1995-01-01

    Newtonian smooth particle hydro simulations are presented of the merger of a 1.4 solar mass neutron star with a black hole of equal mass. The initial state of the system is modeled with a stiff polytrope orbiting a point mass. Dynamical instability sets in when the orbital separation is equal to about three stellar radii. The ensuing mass transfer occurs on the dynamical timescale. No accretion torus is formed. At the end of the computation a corona of large extent shrouds an apparently stable binary system of a 0.25 solar mass star orbiting a 2.3 solar mass black hole.

  16. Evidence for a Broad Relativistic Iron Line from the Neutron Star LMXB Ser X-1

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bhattacharyya, Sudip; Strohmayer, Tod E.

    2007-01-01

    We report on an analysis of XMM-Newton data from the neutron star low mass X-ray binary (LMXB) Serpens X-1 (Ser X-1). Spectral analysis of EPIC PN data indicates that the previously known broad iron Ka emission line in this source has a significantly skewed structure with a moderately extended red wing. The asymmetric shape of the line is well described with the laor and diskline models in XSPEC, which strongly supports an inner accretion disk origin of the line. To our knowledge this is the first strong evidence for a relativistic line in a neutron star LMXB. This finding suggests that the broad lines seen in other neutron star LMXBs likely originate from the inner disk as well. Detailed study of such lines opens up a new way to probe neutron star parameters and their strong gravitational fields. The laor model describes the line from Ser X-1 somewhat better than diskline, and suggests that the inner accretion disk radius is less than 6GM/c(exp 2). This is consistent with the weak magnetic fields of LMXBs, and may point towards a high compactness and rapid spin of the neutron star. Finally, the inferred source inclination angle in the approximate range 50-60 deg is consistent with the lack of dipping from Ser X-1.

  17. Gravitational Waves from Rotating Neutron Stars and Evaluation of fast Chirp Transform Techniques

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Strohmayer, Tod E.; White, Nicholas E. (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    X-ray observations suggest that neutron stars in low mass X-ray binaries (LMXB) are rotating with frequencies from 300 - 600 Hz. These spin rates are significantly less than the break-up rates for essentially all realistic neutron star equations of state, suggesting that some process may limit the spin frequencies of accreting neutron stars to this range. If the accretion induced spin up torque is in equilibrium with gravitational radiation losses, these objects could be interesting sources of gravitational waves. I present a brief summary of current measurements of neutron star spins in LMXBs based on the observations of high-Q oscillations during thermonuclear bursts (so called 'burst oscillations'). Further measurements of neutron star spins will be important in exploring the gravitational radiation hypothesis in more detail. To this end I also present a study of fast chirp transform (FCT) techniques as described by Jenet and Prince in the context of searching for the chirping signals observed during X-ray bursts.

  18. Neutron Stars and NuSTAR

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bhalerao, Varun

    2012-05-01

    My thesis centers around the study of neutron stars, especially those in massive binary systems. To this end, it has two distinct components: the observational study of neutron stars in massive binaries with a goal of measuring neutron star masses and participation in NuSTAR, the first imaging hard X-ray mission, one that is extremely well suited to the study of massive binaries and compact objects in our Galaxy. The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) is a NASA Small Explorer mission that will carry the first focusing high energy X-ray telescope to orbit. NuSTAR has an order-of-magnitude better angular resolution and has two orders of magnitude higher sensitivity than any currently orbiting hard X-ray telescope. I worked to develop, calibrate, and test CdZnTe detectors for NuSTAR. I describe the CdZnTe detectors in comprehensive detail here - from readout procedures to data analysis. Detailed calibration of detectors is necessary for analyzing astrophysical source data obtained by the NuSTAR. I discuss the design and implementation of an automated setup for calibrating flight detectors, followed by calibration procedures and results. Neutron stars are an excellent probe of fundamental physics. The maximum mass of a neutron star can put stringent constraints on the equation of state of matter at extreme pressures and densities. From an astrophysical perspective, there are several open questions in our understanding of neutron stars. What are the birth masses of neutron stars? How do they change in binary evolution? Are there multiple mechanisms for the formation of neutron stars? Measuring masses of neutron stars helps answer these questions. Neutron stars in high-mass X-ray binaries have masses close to their birth mass, providing an opportunity to disentangle the role of "nature" and "nurture" in the observed mass distributions. In 2006, masses had been measured for only six such objects, but this small sample showed the greatest diversity in masses

  19. Validating Neutron Star Radius Measurements

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chakrabarty, Deepto

    2010-09-01

    Spectral analysis of transient neutron star X-ray emission during bursts and quiescence were both used to estimate the NS radii for different sources. The validities of these methods need to be verified by performing them on the same source respectively. Transient type-I (thermonuclear) X-ray bursters are excellent candidates for testing the consistency between these methods, since they were detected in both bursts and quiescence. Out of 3 candidates: Cen X-4, Aql X-1 and 4U 1608-52, 4U 1608-52 turns out to be the best one due to the lack of archival RXTE burst data for Cen X-4 and the previous reported significant luminosity and temperature variability for Aql X-1 in quiescence. Therefore, we propose a 25 ks Chandra/ACIS-S observation of 4U 1608-52.

  20. Thermal Emission from Neutron Stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rajagopal, Mohan

    In the second chapter, we examine the possibility of inspiral of massive black hole binaries produced in galactic mergers, induced by interaction with field stars. We model the evolution of such binaries for a range of galaxy core and binary parameters, using numerical results from the literature to compute the binary's energy and angular momentum loss rates due to stellar encounters and including the effect of back-action on the field stars. Averaging over a population of central black holes and galaxy mergers, we compute the expected background of gravitational radiation with periods Pw~1-10y. Comparison with sensitivities from millisecond pulsar timing suggests that the strongest sources may be detectable with modest improvements to present experiments. In the third chapter, we compute model atmospheres and emergent spectra for low field (B<=1010G) neutron stars, using new opacity and equation of state data from the OPAL project. These computations, incorporating improved treatments of flux transport and convective stability, provide spectra for hydrogen, solar abundance and iron atmospheres. We compare our results to high field magnetic atmospheres, available only for hydrogen. We comment on extension to high fields and the implication of these results for neutron star luminosities and radii. In chapter four we are more ambitious, assembling iron opacities from atomic states in order to treat the case of high magnetic field. Using a Hartree-Fock formalism, we estimate energy levels and photon cross sections for atomic iron in magnetic fields B~1013G. Computing ionization equilibrium and normal mode opacities with these data, we construct LTE neutron star model atmospheres at 5.5 < Log(T eff)<6.5 and compute emergent spectra. We examine the dependence of the emergent spectra on T eff and B. We also show the spectral variation with the angle between the magnetic field and the atmosphere normal and describe the significant limb darkening in the X-ray band. These

  1. Radio Detection of Neutron Star Binary Mergers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bear, Brandon; Cardena, Brett; Dispoto, Dana; Papadopoulos, Joanna; Kavic, Michael; Simonetti, John

    2011-10-01

    Neutron star binary systems lose energy through gravitational radiation, and eventually merge. The gravitational radiation from the merger can be detected by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). It is expected that a transient radio pulse will also be produced during the merger event. Detection of such radio transients would allow for LIGO to search for signals within constrained time periods. We calculate the LWA-1 detection rate of transient events from neutron star binary mergers. We calculate the detection rate of transient events from neutron star binary mergers for the Long Wavelength Array and the Eight-meter-wavelength Transient Array.

  2. Observations of Neutron Stars with NICER

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bogdanov, Slavko

    2016-07-01

    The Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) is an approved NASA Explorer Mission of Opportunity that will be deployed as an attached payload on the International Space Station in August of 2016. By virtue of its unprecedented combination of throughput and fast timing capabilities, NICER will enable an empirical determination of the neutron star equation of state via realistic modeling of the pulsed X-ray radiation from millisecond pulsars. In this talk, I will describe the NICER instrument and measurement techniques it will employ, as well as the expected constraints on neutron star structure, and by extension the behavior of matter at supra-nuclear densities.

  3. Neutron star crust cooling in the Terzan 5 X-ray transient Swift J174805.3-244637

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Degenaar, N.; Wijnands, R.; Bahramian, A.; Sivakoff, G. R.; Heinke, C. O.; Brown, E. F.; Fridriksson, J. K.; Homan, J.; Cackett, E. M.; Cumming, A.; Miller, J. M.; Altamirano, D.; Pooley, D.

    2015-08-01

    When neutron stars reside in transient X-ray binaries, their crustal layers become heated during accretion outbursts and subsequently cool in quiescence. Observing and modelling this thermal response has yielded valuable insight into the physics of neutron star crusts. However, one unresolved problem is the evidence in several neutron stars for an extra energy source, located at shallow depth in the crust, that is not accounted for by standard heating models. Its origin remains puzzling, and it is currently unclear whether this additional heating occurs in all neutron stars, and if the magnitude is always the same. Here, we report on Chandra observations that cover two years after the 2012 outburst of the transient neutron star X-ray binary Swift J174805.3-244637 in the globular cluster Terzan 5. The temperature of the neutron star was elevated during the first two months following its ≃8 week accretion episode, but had decayed to the pre-outburst level within ≃100 d. Interpreting this as rapid cooling of the accretion-heated crust, we model the observed temperature curve with a thermal evolution code. We find that there is no need to invoke shallow heating for this neutron star, although an extra energy release up to ≃1.4 MeV nucleon-1 is allowed by the current data (2σ confidence). We also present two new data points on the crust-cooling curve of the 11-Hz X-ray pulsar IGR J17480-2446 in Terzan 5, which was active in 2010. The temperature of this neutron star remains significantly above the pre-outburst level, but we detect no change in the thermal emission since the previous measurements of 2013 February. This is consistent with the slow crust cooling expected several years post-outburst.

  4. Neutron Stars and Thermonuclear X-ray Bursts

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bhattacharyya, Supid

    2007-01-01

    This viewgraph presentation describes neutron stars and thermonuclear x ray bursts. The contents include: 1) Neutron Stars: why do we care?; 2) Thermonuclear Bursts: why do we care?; 3) Neutron Stars: Mass, Radius and Spin: a. Continuum Spectroscopy of Bursts b. Spectral Lines from Bursts c. Timing Properties of Bursts; 4) Neutron Star Atmosphere: Thermonuclear Flame Spreading; and 5) Future Prospects and Conclusions.

  5. Hotspot or Heatwave? Getting to Grips with Neutron Star Burst Oscillations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Watts, A.

    2005-01-01

    Many accreting neutron stars, including two of the millisecond pulsars, exhibit high frequency oscillations during Type I X-ray bursts. The properties of the burst oscillations reflect the nature of the thermal asymmetry on the stellar surface. The mechanism that gives rise to the aspzetry, however , remains unclear: possibilities include a hotspot due to uneven fuel distribution, modes of oscillation in the surface layers of the neutron star, or vortices driven by the Coriolis force. I will review some of the latest theory and observations, and present the results of a recent study of variability in the burst oscillations of the millisecond pulsar 51814-338.

  6. Neutron-star matter within the energy-density functional theory and neutron-star structure

    SciTech Connect

    Fantina, A. F.; Chamel, N.; Goriely, S.; Pearson, J. M.

    2015-02-24

    In this lecture, we will present some nucleonic equations of state of neutron-star matter calculated within the nuclear energy-density functional theory using generalized Skyrme functionals developed by the Brussels-Montreal collaboration. These equations of state provide a consistent description of all regions of a neutron star. The global structure of neutron stars predicted by these equations of state will be discussed in connection with recent astrophysical observations.

  7. Lense-Thirring precession around neutron stars with known spin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Van Doesburgh, Marieke; van der Klis, Michiel

    2016-07-01

    Quasi periodic oscillations (QPOs) between 300 and 1200 Hz in the X-ray emission from low mass X-ray binaries have been linked to Keplerian orbital motion at the inner edge of accretion disks. Lense-Thirring precession is precession of the line of nodes of inclined orbits with respect to the equatorial plane of a rotating object due to the general relativistic effect of frame dragging. The Lense-Thirring model of Stella and Vietri (1998) explains QPOs observed in neutron star low mass X-ray binaries at frequencies of a few tens of Hz by the nodal precession of the orbits at the inner disk edge at a precession frequency, ν_{LT} , identical to the Lense-Thirring precession of a test particle orbit. A quadratic relation between ν_{LT} and the Keplerian orbital frequency, and a linear dependence on spin frequency are predicted. In early work (van Straaten et al., 2003) this quadratic relation was confirmed to remarkable precision in three objects of uncertain spin. Since the initial work, many neutron star spin frequencies have been measured in X-ray sources that show QPOs at both low and high frequency. Using archival data from the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer, we compare the Lense-Thirring prediction to the properties of quasi periodic oscillations measured in a sample of 14 low mass X-ray binaries of which the neutron star spin frequencies can be inferred from their bursting behaviour. We find that in the range predicted for the precession frequency, we can distinguish two different oscillations that often occur simultaneously. In previous works, these two oscillations have often been confused. For both frequencies, we find correlations with inferred Keplerian frequency characterized by power laws with indices that differ significantly from the prediction of 2.0 and therefore inconsistent with the Lense-Thirring model. Also, the specific moment of inertia of the neutron star required by the observed frequencies exceeds values predicted for realistic equations of

  8. Probing the crust of the neutron star in EXO 0748-676

    SciTech Connect

    Degenaar, N.; Miller, J. M.; Medin, Z.; Cumming, A.; Wijnands, R.; Wolff, M. T.; Cackett, E. M.; Jonker, P. G.; Homan, J.; Brown, E. F.

    2014-08-10

    X-ray observations of quiescent X-ray binaries have the potential to provide insight into the structure and the composition of neutron stars. EXO 0748-676 had been actively accreting for over 24 yr before its outburst ceased in late 2008. Subsequent X-ray monitoring revealed a gradual decay of the quiescent thermal emission that can be attributed to cooling of the accretion-heated neutron star crust. In this work, we report on new Chandra and Swift observations that extend the quiescent monitoring to ≅5 yr post-outburst. We find that the neutron star temperature remained at ≅117 eV between 2009 and 2011, but had decreased to ≅110 eV in 2013. This suggests that the crust has not fully cooled yet, which is supported by the lower temperature (≅95 eV) measured ≅4 yr prior to the accretion phase in 1980. Comparing the data to thermal evolution simulations reveals that the apparent lack of cooling between 2009 and 2011 could possibly be a signature of convection driven by phase separation of light and heavy nuclei in the outer layers of the neutron star.

  9. The Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gendreau, Keith C.

    2008-01-01

    The Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICE) will be a Mission of Opportunity dedicated to the study of neutron stars, the only places in the universe where all four fundamental forces of nature are simultaneously in play. NICE will explore the exotic states of matter within neutron stars, revealing their interior and surface compositions through rotation resolved X-ray spectroscopy. Absolute time-referenced data will allow NICE to probe the extreme physical environments associated with neutron stars, leveraging observations across the electromagnetic spectrum to answer decades-old questions about one of the most powerful cosmic accelerators known. Finally, NICE will definitively measure stabilities of pulsars as clocks, with implications for navigation, a pulsar-based timescale, and gravitational-wave detection. NICE will fly on the International Space Station, while GLAST is on orbit and post-RXTE, and will allow for the discovery of new high-energy pulsars and provide continuity in X-ray timing astrophysics.

  10. Transport coefficients in superfluid neutron stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tolos, Laura; Manuel, Cristina; Sarkar, Sreemoyee; Tarrus, Jaume

    2016-01-01

    We study the shear and bulk viscosity coefficients as well as the thermal conductivity as arising from the collisions among phonons in superfluid neutron stars. We use effective field theory techniques to extract the allowed phonon collisional processes, written as a function of the equation of state and the gap of the system. The shear viscosity due to phonon scattering is compared to calculations of that coming from electron collisions. We also comment on the possible consequences for r-mode damping in superfluid neutron stars. Moreover, we find that phonon collisions give the leading contribution to the bulk viscosities in the core of the neutron stars. We finally obtain a temperature-independent thermal conductivity from phonon collisions and compare it with the electron-muon thermal conductivity in superfluid neutron stars.

  11. The breaking strain of neutron star crust

    SciTech Connect

    Kadau, Kai; Horowitz, C J

    2009-01-01

    Mountains on rapidly rotating neutron stars efficiently radiate gravitational waves. The maximum possible size of these mountains depends on the breaking strain of neutron star crust. With multimillion ion molecular dynamics simulations of Coulomb solids representing the crust, we show that the breaking strain of pure single crystals is very large and that impurities, defects, and grain boundaries only modestly reduce the breaking strain to around 0.1. Due to the collective behavior of the ions during failure found in our simulations, the neutron star crust is likely very strong and can support mountains large enough so that their gTavitational wave radiation could limit the spin periods of some stars and might be detectable in large scale interferometers. Furthermore, our microscopic modeling of neutron star crust material can help analyze mechanisms relevant in Magnetar Giant and Micro Flares.

  12. White Dwarfs, Neutron Stars and Black Holes

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Szekeres, P.

    1977-01-01

    The three possible fates of burned-out stars: white dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes, are described in elementary terms. Characteristics of these celestial bodies, as provided by Einstein's work, are described. (CP)

  13. Neutron stars as cosmic hadron physics laboratories

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pines, D.

    1985-01-01

    Extensive observations of Her-1 with the Exosat satellite have led to a new understanding of both the dynamics of neutron-star superfluids and the free precession of neutron stars. Detailed microscopic calculations on neutron matter and the properties of the pinned crustal superfluid are provided to serve as a basis for comparing theory with observation on neutron stars. Topics discussed include the Hadron matter equation of state, neutron star structure, Hadron superfluids, the vortex creep theory, Vela pulsar glitches, astrophysical constraints on neutron matter energy gaps, the 35 day periodicity of Her-1, and the neutron matter equation of state. It is concluded that since the post-glitch fits and the identification of the 35th periodicity in Her X-1 as stellar wobble require a rigid neutron matter equation of state, the astrophysical evidence for such an equation seems strong, as well as that for an intermediate Delta(rho) curve.

  14. Neutron stars in Einstein-aether theory

    SciTech Connect

    Eling, Christopher; Jacobson, Ted; Miller, M. Coleman

    2007-08-15

    As current and future experiments probe strong gravitational regimes around neutron stars and black holes, it is desirable to have theoretically sound alternatives to general relativity against which to test observations. Here we study the consequences of one such generalization, Einstein-aether theory, for the properties of nonrotating neutron stars. This theory has a parameter range that satisfies all current weak-field tests. We find that within this range it leads to lower maximum neutron star masses, as well as larger surface redshifts at a particular mass, for a given nuclear equation of state. For nonrotating black holes and neutron stars, the innermost stable circular orbit is only slightly modified in this theory.

  15. Constraining the properties of neutron star crusts with the transient low-mass X-ray binary Aql X-1

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Waterhouse, A. C.; Degenaar, N.; Wijnands, R.; Brown, E. F.; Miller, J. M.; Altamirano, D.; Linares, M.

    2016-03-01

    Aql X-1 is a prolific transient neutron star low-mass X-ray binary that exhibits an accretion outburst approximately once every year. Whether the thermal X-rays detected in intervening quiescent episodes are the result of cooling of the neutron star or due to continued low-level accretion remains unclear. In this work, we use Swift data obtained after the long and bright 2011 and 2013 outbursts, as well as the short and faint 2015 outburst, to investigate the hypothesis that cooling of the accretion-heated neutron star crust dominates the quiescent thermal emission in Aql X-1. We demonstrate that the X-ray light curves and measured neutron star surface temperatures are consistent with the expectations of the crust cooling paradigm. By using a thermal evolution code, we find that ≃1.2-3.2 MeV nucleon-1 of shallow heat release describes the observational data well, depending on the assumed mass-accretion rate and temperature of the stellar core. We find no evidence for varying strengths of this shallow heating after different outbursts, but this could be due to limitations of the data. We argue that monitoring Aql X-1 for up to ≃1 yr after future outbursts can be a powerful tool to break model degeneracies and solve open questions about the magnitude, depth, and origin of shallow heating in neutron star crusts.

  16. Black-hole-neutron-star mergers at realistic mass ratios: Equation of state and spin orientation effects

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Foucart, Francois; Deaton, M. Brett; Duez, Matthew D.; Kidder, Lawrence E.; MacDonald, Ilana; Ott, Christian D.; Pfeiffer, Harald P.; Scheel, Mark A.; Szilagyi, Bela; Teukolsky, Saul A.

    2013-04-01

    Black-hole-neutron-star mergers resulting in the disruption of the neutron star and the formation of an accretion disk and/or the ejection of unbound material are prime candidates for the joint detection of gravitational-wave and electromagnetic signals when the next generation of gravitational-wave detectors comes online. However, the disruption of the neutron star and the properties of the postmerger remnant are very sensitive to the parameters of the binary (mass ratio, black-hole spin, neutron star radius). In this paper, we study the impact of the radius of the neutron star and the alignment of the black-hole spin on black-hole-neutron-star mergers within the range of mass ratio currently deemed most likely for field binaries (MBH˜7MNS) and for black-hole spins large enough for the neutron star to disrupt (JBH/MBH2=0.9). We find that (i) In this regime, the merger is particularly sensitive to the radius of the neutron star, with remnant masses varying from 0.3MNS to 0.1MNS for changes of only 2 km in the NS radius; (ii) 0.01M⊙-0.05M⊙ of unbound material can be ejected with kinetic energy ≳1051ergs, a significant increase compared to low mass ratio, low spin binaries. This ejecta could power detectable postmerger optical and radio afterglows. (iii) Only a small fraction of the Advanced LIGO events in this parameter range have gravitational-wave signals which could offer constraints on the equation of state of the neutron star (at best ˜3% of the events for a single detector at design sensitivity). (iv) A misaligned black-hole spin works against disk formation, with less neutron-star material remaining outside of the black hole after merger, and a larger fraction of that material remaining in the tidal tail instead of the forming accretion disk. (v) Large kicks vkick≳300km/s can be given to the final black hole as a result of a precessing black-hole-neutron-star merger, when the disruption of the neutron star occurs just outside or within the innermost

  17. Hydrodynamical evolution of coalescing binary neutron stars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rasio, Frederic A.; Shapiro, Stuart L.

    1992-01-01

    The hydrodynamics of the final merging of two neutron stars and the corresponding gravitational wave emission is studied in detail. Various test calculations are presented, including the compressible Roche and Darwin problems and the head-on collision of two polytropes. A complete coalescence calculation is presented for the simplest case of two identical neutron stars, represented by Gamma = 2 polytropes, in a circular orbit, with their spins aligned and synchronized with the orbital rotation.

  18. Direct URCA process in neutron stars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lattimer, James M.; Prakash, Madappa; Pethick, C. J.; Haensel, Pawel

    1991-01-01

    It is shown that the direct URCA process can occur in neutron stars if the proton concentration exceeds some critical value in the range 11-15 percent. The proton concentration, which is determined by the poorly known symmetry energy of matter above nuclear density, exceeds the critical value in many current calculations. If it occurs, the direct URCA process enhances neutrino emission and neutron star cooling rates by a large factor compared to any process considered previously.

  19. Population Synthesis of isolated Neutron Stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gullón Juanes, Miguel

    2015-12-01

    Neutron Stars present a wide variety from the observational point of view. The advent of new and powerful detectors and instruments has opened a new era where the classical picture of neutrons stars seen as radio-pulsars has been modified with new classes such as magnetars, X-ray Isolated Neutron Stars (XINSs) or Central Compact Objects (CCOs) in Supernova Remnants . In addition to the more than 2500 sources detected in the radio band, more than two hundred have also been detected as X-ray and gamma-ray sources. This number is expected to increase in the near future. Despite this apparent diversity, some studies demand a theory able to explain the different classes in terms of the same physical scenario (Kaspi, 2010), in which the evolution of the magnetic field appears to play an important role (Viganò et al., 2013). The Population Synthesis of Neutron Stars, which is the central subject of this thesis, is an interesting approach to understand the problem, as both intrinsic properties and observational biases are taken into account. These technique is based on Monte Carlo methods, applied to simulate the whole population of neutron stars. The main objective of the thesis has been to perform a multi-wavelength study of the different populations of Neutron Stars focusing in the effects of magneto-thermal evolution. This report consists of a global summary of the objectives, methods and main results of the thesis. It is structured as follows. The first chapter gives an introduction to Neutron Stars. Chapter two is a description of the method of Population Synthesis of Neutron Stars. In chapter three a global discussion of the main results is presented. Chapter four closes the report with the conclusions. An appendix is also included which constitutes a description of a method based on the pulsar current analysis.

  20. A deep look at the neutron star 4U 1705-44 in a low-hard state

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cackett, Edward

    2010-10-01

    Both neutron star and black hole binaries display a distinct range of spectral states that have been known of for decades. But, a key unanswered question remains: what drives the transition between states? It is still not clear how the geometry of the accretion flow changes through these state transitions, though one key parameter is the inner extent of the accretion disk. In black hole X-ray binaries there is building observational evidence that the inner disk does not truncate down to luminosities of ~1.5E-3 L/L_edd. However, there is yet to be a high quality spectrum of a neutron star LMXB at such low luminosities to test the nature of the accretion disk in these objects. Here, we propose a deep 120 ksec ToO observation of the neutron star LMXB 4U 1705-44 when it transitions into a low/hard state.

  1. Does the Collapse of a Supramassive Neutron Star Leave a Debris Disk?

    PubMed

    Margalit, Ben; Metzger, Brian D; Beloborodov, Andrei M

    2015-10-23

    One possible channel for black hole formation is the collapse of a rigidly rotating massive neutron star as it loses its angular momentum or gains excessive mass through accretion. It was proposed that part of the neutron star may form a debris disk around the black hole. Such short-lived massive disks could be the sources of powerful jets emitting cosmological gamma-ray bursts. Whether the collapse creates a disk depends on the equation of state of the neutron star. We survey a wide range of equations of states allowed by observations and find that disk formation is unfeasible. We conclude that this channel of black hole formation is incapable of producing powerful jets, and discuss implications for models of gamma-ray bursts. PMID:26551095

  2. The Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) mission: post-CDR status update

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Arzoumanian, Zaven; Gendreau, Keith; Nicer Team

    2015-01-01

    NASA's Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER), in development for deployment to the International Space Station as an external attached payload, will address decades-old questions about the structure, dynamics, and energetics of neutron stars through high-precision timing of the soft X-ray emissions of rotation- and accretion-powered pulsars. NICER's performance in timing, spectroscopy, and high-throughput sensitivity to 0.2-12 keV X-rays represents a substantial enhancement over existing capabilities, enabling a rich diversity of investigations in both neutron star science as well as broader X-ray astrophysics, the latter through a proposed Guest Observer program. Having successfully passed its Critical Design Review in September 2014, the NICER development team is proceeding with implementation of flight systems. This talk briefly summarizes the NICER design and the status of hardware fabrication and testing, currently on pace to deliver the NICER payload for its planned launch in late 2016.

  3. On the HBO Mechanism of X-Ray Neutron Star

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, C. M.; Dolgov, A.

    We ascribe the 15-60 Hz Quasi Periodic Oscillation (QPO) to the periastron precession frequency of the orbiting accreted matter at the boundary of magnetosphere-disk of X-ray neutron star (NS). Considering the relativistic motion mechanism for the kHz QPO, that the radii of the inner disk and magnetosphere-disk of NS are correlated with each other by a factor is assumed. The obtained conclusions include: all QPO frequencies increase with increasing the accretion rate. The theoretical relations between 15-60 Hz QPO (HBO) frequency and the twin kHz QPOs are similar to the measured empirical formula. Further, the better fitted NS mass by the proposed model is about 1.9 solar masses for the detected LMXBs.

  4. Superfluidity of {Lambda} hyperons in neutron stars

    SciTech Connect

    Wang, Y. N.; Shen, H.

    2010-02-15

    We study the {sup 1}S{sub 0} superfluidity of {Lambda} hyperons in neutron star matter and neutron stars. We use the relativistic mean field (RMF) theory to calculate the properties of neutron star matter. In the RMF approach, the meson-hyperon couplings are constrained by reasonable hyperon potentials that include the updated information from recent developments in hypernuclear physics. To examine the {sup 1}S{sub 0} pairing gap of {Lambda} hyperons, we employ several {Lambda}{Lambda} interactions based on the Nijmegen models and used in double-{Lambda} hypernuclei studies. It is found that the maximal pairing gap obtained is a few tenths of a MeV. The magnitude and the density region of the pairing gap are dependent on the {Lambda}{Lambda} interaction and the treatment of neutron star matter. We calculate neutron star properties and find that whether the {sup 1}S{sub 0} superfluidity of {Lambda} hyperons exists in the core of neutron stars mainly depends on the {Lambda}{Lambda} interaction used.

  5. Rotation and cooling of neutron stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Negreiros, R.; Schramm, S.; Weber, F.

    2014-09-01

    Driven by the loss of energy, isolated rotating neutron stars (pulsars) are gradually slowing down to lower frequencies, which increases the tremendous compression of the matter inside of them. This increase in compression changes both the global properties of rotating neutron stars as well as their hadronic core compositions. Both effects may register themselves observationally in the thermal evolution of such stars, as demonstrated in this work. The rotation-driven particle process which we consider here is the direct Urca (DU) process, which is known to become operative in neutron stars if the number of protons in the stellar core exceeds a critical limit of around 11 % to 15 %. We find that neutron stars spinning down from moderately high rotation rates of a few hundred Hertz may be creating just the right conditions where the DU process becomes operative, leading to an observable effect (enhanced cooling) in the temperature evolution of such neutron stars. We will also study the thermal evolution of neutron stars whose spherical symmetry has been broken due to non-zero rotation. For this we will derive the energy balance and transport equations, taking into account the metric of a rotating fluid distribution and solve these equations numerically.

  6. Neutron stars as laboratories for gravity physics

    SciTech Connect

    Deliduman, Cemsinan

    2014-01-01

    We study the structure of neutron stars in R+αR² gravity model with perturbative method. We obtain mass-radius relations for four representative equations of state (EoS). We find that, for |α|~10⁹ cm², the results differ substantially from the results of general relativity. The effects of modified gravity are seen as mimicking a stiff or soft EoS for neutron stars depending upon whether α is negative or positive, respectively. Some of the soft EoS that are excluded within the framework of general relativity can be reconciled for certain values of α of this order with the 2 solar mass neutron star recently observed. Indeed, if the EoS is ever established to be soft, modified gravity of the sort studied here may be required to explain neutron star masses as large as 2 M{sub ⊙}. The associated length scale √(α)~10⁵ cm is of the order of the the typical radius of neutron stars implying that this is the smallest value we could find by using neutron stars as a probe. We thus conclude that the true value of α is most likely much smaller than 10⁹ cm².

  7. Quasi-periodic oscillations in black-hole and neutron-star binaries

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mendez, Mariano; Motta, Sara Elisa

    2016-07-01

    Fast time variability is an important characteristic of black hole and neutron-star X-ray binaries and a key ingredient in understanding the physical processes in these systems. Black hole and neutron star X-ray binaries show a variety of X-ray spectral/variability states, representing different accretion regimes. It has been recently shown that the overall strength of the rapid variability is a good tracer of these states. Fast aperiodic variability is generally studied through the inspection of power density spectra. Most of the power spectral components are broad and can take the form of a wide power distribution over several decades of frequency or of a more localised peak (quasi-periodic oscillations, QPOs). It is now clear that QPOs are a common characteristic of accreting systems: they have been observed in accreting stellar mass black holes and neutron stars hosted in X-ray binaries, in cataclysmic variable, in the so-called ultra luminous X-ray sources and even in active galactic nuclei. Even though their origin and nature is still debated, the study of QPOs provides a way to explore the inner accretion flow around black holes and neutron stars. Various theoretical models have been proposed to explain the origin of QPOs in black hole and neutron star binaries, only a few have been proved to be promising so far, having shown good agreement with observations. I will describe how timing is done in X-rays and how QPOs are usually studied. I will briefly review some of the proposed models and I will finally show the most recent results obtained on QPOs.

  8. Experimental approach to neutron stars

    SciTech Connect

    Leifels, Yvonne

    2014-05-09

    The equation of state (EOS) of nuclear matter is of fundamental importance in many areas of nuclear physics and astrophysics In the laboratory, there are different means to study the nuclearmatter equation of state and its density dependence in particular: nuclear masses, neutron skins, pygmy resonance, and nuclear structure at the drip line give access to nuclear matter properties at densities lower than and at saturation density ρ0. Heavy ion reactions at energies above 0.1 AGeV are the only means to study nuclear matter at densities larger than normal nuclear matter density ρ0. In the beamenergy range of 0.1 to 2A GeV nuclear matter is compressed upto three times ρ0. Access to nuclear matter properties is achieved by simulating nuclear collisions by means of microscopic transport codes, or statistical or hydrodynamicalmodels. Characteristics of heavy-ion collisions are discussed, and experimental observables which allow to constrain nuclear matter properties by comparing experimental results with those of transport codes are presented. Special emphasis will be given to the density dependence of the symmetry energy which is the most relevant connection between neutron stars and heavy ion collisions.

  9. Carbon Atmosphere Discovered On Neutron Star

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    2009-11-01

    Evidence for a thin veil of carbon has been found on the neutron star in the Cassiopeia A supernova remnant. This discovery, made with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, resolves a ten-year mystery surrounding this object. "The compact star at the center of this famous supernova remnant has been an enigma since its discovery," said Wynn Ho of the University of Southampton and lead author of a paper that appears in the latest issue of Nature. "Now we finally understand that it can be produced by a hot neutron star with a carbon atmosphere." By analyzing Chandra's X-ray spectrum - akin to a fingerprint of energy - and applying it to theoretical models, Ho and his colleague Craig Heinke, from the University of Alberta, determined that the neutron star in Cassiopeia A, or Cas A for short, has an ultra-thin coating of carbon. This is the first time the composition of an atmosphere of an isolated neutron star has been confirmed. The Chandra "First Light" image of Cas A in 1999 revealed a previously undetected point-like source of X-rays at the center. This object was presumed to be a neutron star, the typical remnant of an exploded star, but researchers were unable to understand its properties. Defying astronomers' expectations, this object did not show any X-ray or radio pulsations or any signs of radio pulsar activity. By applying a model of a neutron star with a carbon atmosphere to this object, Ho and Heinke found that the region emitting X-rays would uniformly cover a typical neutron star. This would explain the lack of X-ray pulsations because -- like a lightbulb that shines consistently in all directions -- this neutron star would be unlikely to display any changes in its intensity as it rotates. Scientists previously have used a neutron star model with a hydrogen atmosphere giving a much smaller emission area, corresponding to a hot spot on a typical neutron star, which should produce X-ray pulsations as it rotates. Interpreting the hydrogen atmosphere model

  10. Demography of the ecosystem engineer Crassostrea gigas, related to vertical reef accretion and reef persistence

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Walles, Brenda; Mann, Roger; Ysebaert, Tom; Troost, Karin; Herman, Peter M. J.; Smaal, Aad C.

    2015-03-01

    Marine species characterized as structure building, autogenic ecosystem engineers are recognized worldwide as potential tools for coastal adaptation efforts in the face of sea level rise. Successful employment of ecosystem engineers in coastal protection largely depends on long-term persistence of their structure, which is in turn dependent on the population dynamics of the individual species. Oysters, such as the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas), are recognized as ecosystem engineers with potential for use in coastal protection. Persistence of oyster reefs is strongly determined by recruitment and shell production (growth), processes facilitated by gregarious settlement on extant shell substrate. Although the Pacific oyster has been introduced world-wide, and has formed dense reefs in the receiving coastal waters, the population biology of live oysters and the quantitative mechanisms maintaining these reefs has rarely been studied, hence the aim of the present work. This study had two objectives: (1) to describe the demographics of extant C. gigas reefs, and (2) to estimate vertical reef accretion rates and carbonate production in these oyster reefs. Three long-living oyster reefs (>30 years old), which have not been exploited since their first occurrence, were examined in the Oosterschelde estuary in the Netherlands. A positive reef accretion rate (7.0-16.9 mm year-1 shell material) was observed, consistent with self-maintenance and persistent structure. We provide a framework to predict reef accretion and population persistence under varying recruitment, growth and mortality scenarios.