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Simulating the Interactions of Type I X-ray Bursts with Accretion Disks

Published onJun 01, 2020
Simulating the Interactions of Type I X-ray Bursts with Accretion Disks

Thermonuclear explosions on the surface of neutron stars, generally known as Type I X-ray bursts, are fascinating laboratories to study the physics of matter under extremes of temperature, pressure and gravitational field. Careful analysis of the burst spectrum and luminosity can even provide crucial constraints on the neutron star equation of state. In addition, X-ray bursts are a potentially powerful probe of accretion physics, as the intense release of radiative energy in the burst can greatly impact the structure of the disk in ways that can be observationally measured. This poster/talk presents results from the first numerical simulations of accretion disks interacting with X-ray burst radiation. We consider both geometrically thick, optically thin disks appropriate for the Hard state and geometrically thin, optically thick disks for the Soft state. In both cases, the disks undergo dramatic changes in temperature, scale height, and optical depth, though the nature of those changes depends on the state of the disk. We further find evidence for Poynting-Roberston drag in both cases.

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