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Mon Jun 03, 2013

Varying accretion rate during bursts

Since the 1970s the standard approach for analysing the X-ray spectrum emitted during thermonuclear bursts included subtracting off the persistent spectrum prior to the burst, implicitly assuming that this component (which arises from accretion) could not vary during the burst. On the other hand, predictions of the response of the accretion disk to the sudden X-ray brightening during a burst suggest that the accretion rate should increase.
In a study of several hundred bright bursts observed by the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer, Monash PhD student Hauke Worpel found evidence that the accretion rate does increase during the burst, and by a substantial amount, up to a factor of 20. This result was also corroborated by the recent simultaneous observation of a burst by Chandra and RXTE. Hauke's paper was just accepted by ApJ.

Read the paper arXiv:1303.4824

Labels: 2013, /thermonuclear bursts