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Mon Sep 16, 2019

Fingerprinting X-ray bursters

The first accretion-powered millisecond pulsar ever found, SAX 1808.4—3658 is a remarkable object, also showing thermonuclear bursts during it's infrequent outbursts. Over several years PhD student Adelle Goodwin has been trying to match the bursts observed during it's 2002 outburst with the predictions of a numerical model. This exercise can be thought of as searching exhaustively for a set of parameters which (in the model) reproduce the observed properties of the bursts. Now that we have an improved formula for determining the energy of these bursts, she built a Markov-chain Monte-Carlo (MCMC) code to constrain system parameters including neutron star mass and radius for the source. Her paper describing the study, and it's results, has now been published by MNRAS

Read the paper (MNRAS 490, 2228, 2019)

Labels: 2019, /postgrads