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T. E. Strohmayer (NASA/GSFC)
Discoveries of millisecond pulsations during thermonuclear X-ray bursts with the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) have provided new insights into the properties of neutron stars. Much evidence suggests that the millisecond spin periods of these stars are being revealed during the bursts. Detailed study of the amplitude, shape and spectral properties of the pulsations, particularly near the onset of bursts, can provide important constraints on the masses and radii of neutron stars, and thus help pin down the dense matter equation of state (EOS). I will briefly summarize the extent to which available data can be used to investigate the mass - radius relation for neutron stars and then discuss, with the aid of simulations, the likely breakthroughs that can be made with a 10 - 20 fold increase in X-ray collecting area. A general review of burst oscillations can be found at the accompanying URL.
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