Astrophys. J., 720, 205-225 (2010/September-1)
Relativistic lines and reflection from the inner accretion disks around neutron stars.
CACKETT E.M., MILLER J.M., BALLANTYNE D.R., BARRET D., BHATTACHARYYA S., BOUTELIER M., MILLER M.C., STROHMAYER T.E. and WIJNANDS R.
Abstract (from CDS):
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.
accretion, accretion disks - stars: neutron - X-rays: binaries
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