8th HEAD Meeting, 8-11 September, 2004
Session 33 Neutron Stars and X-ray Binaries
Oral, Saturday, September 11, 2004, 11:00am-12:42pm

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[33.04] Visualizing the Inner Regions of Accretion Disks around Neutron Stars using Superbursts

D.R. Ballantyne (CITA), T.E. Strohmayer (NASA/GSFC), E. Kuulkers (ESTEC)

The bright X-ray emission from a superburst on the surface of a neutron star can act as a spotlight to illuminate the disk surface. The X-rays cause iron atoms in the disk to fluoresce, allowing a determination of the ionization state, covering factor and inner radius of the disk over the course of the burst. Here, we review the results of time-resolved spectral fitting of the superburst from 4U 1820-30, in which we found strong evidence that the inner region of the accretion disk was disrupted by the burst. We will then present new results from an analysis of the superburst from 4U 1636-536. In this case, the time-resolved spectral fitting reveals an intriguing new behavior that is quite different from the previous system.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: ballantyne@cita.utoronto.ca

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 36 #3
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.