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Detection of burning ashes from thermonuclear X-ray bursts
KTH.
KTH. Univ Turku, Finland; Stockholm Univ, Sweden.
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2017 (English)In: Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, ISSN 0035-8711, E-ISSN 1365-2966, Vol. 464, no 1, L6-L10 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

When neutron stars (NS) accrete gas from low-mass binary companions, explosive nuclear burning reactions in the NS envelope fuse hydrogen and helium into heavier elements. The resulting thermonuclear (type-I) X-ray bursts produce energy spectra that are fit well with black bodies, but a significant number of burst observations show deviations from Planck spectra. Here we present our analysis of RXTE/ PCA observations of X-ray bursts from the NS low-mass X-ray binary HETE J1900.1-2455. We have discovered that the non-Planckian spectra are caused by photoionization edges. The anticorrelation between the strength of the edges and the colour temperature suggests that the edges are produced by the nuclear burning ashes that have been transported upwards by convection and become exposed at the photosphere. The atmosphere model fits show that occasionally the photosphere can consist entirely of metals, and that the peculiar changes in blackbody temperature and radius can be attributed to the emergence and disappearance of metals in the photosphere. As the metals are detected already in the Eddington-limited phase, it is possible that a radiatively driven wind ejects some of the burning ashes into the interstellar space.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
OXFORD UNIV PRESS , 2017. Vol. 464, no 1, L6-L10 p.
Keyword [en]
accretion, accretion discs, X-rays: bursts
National Category
Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-210403DOI: 10.1093/mnrasl/slw167ISI: 000403097500002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-210403DiVA: diva2:1119406
Note

QC 20170704

Available from: 2017-07-04 Created: 2017-07-04 Last updated: 2017-07-04Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
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Language
  • de-DE
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  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
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Output format
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  • asciidoc
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