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Session 52 - HEAD I: First Results from RXTE.
Oral session, Tuesday, January 14
A major goal of RXTE is to investigate the fastest timing signals from compact stars, especially neutron stars and black holes. Signals have now been found from many (at least nine) low mass X-ray binaries containing neutron stars in the frequency range (100-1200 Hz) expected for the rotation period of the neutron star after being spun up by accretion over a long period. The kilohertz frequency domain for these sources is simpler than the domain of oscillations below about 50 Hz in that a few isolated features can dominate over white noise. However there are three main features to consider (not all present at the same time) and at least two are quasiperiodic with varying widths and frequencies. Several models are pitting their predictions against the behavior of these features, but the bursters, especially, appear to be revealing the neutron stars's spin. It is consistent with our beliefs that no black hole candidate has shown the same complex of signals, although at least one QPO frequency of a few hundred Hz could be expected in black hole candidates by analogy to the 67 Hz observed from GRS 1915+105. The observations also provide critical tests of the interpretions of the lower frequency (5-50 Hz) QPO and the variable noise seen in both low magnetic field neutron stars and black hole candidates. The kilohertz features have not been seen from the accreting pulsars with relatively high magnetic fields, but high luminosity pulsars (such as last year's transient, GRO J1744-28) reveal signatures of the dynamic interaction between the accretion flow, the magnetic field, and perhaps the neutron star surface in addition to their coherent pulsations.
Program listing for Tuesday