HEAD Division Meeting 1999, April 1999
Session 38. Neutron Star Binaries
Oral, Thursday, April 15, 1999, 2:00pm-3:31pm, Colonial Room

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[38.01] Millisecond Neutron Star Spins in Low-Mass X-ray Binaries

Deepto Chakrabarty (MIT)

A distinct population of old, weakly-magnetic millisecond radio pulsars, mostly in binaries, emerged over a decade ago. Despite a consensus that these neutron stars were spun up through prolonged accretion in low-mass X-ray binaries (LMXBs), definite observational proof --- detection of demonstrably coherent X-ray pulsations from neutron stars in LMXBs --- eluded observers for years. The recent discovery of persistent 2.5 ms X-ray pulsations in SAX J1808.4-3658 is the first direct confirmation of the spin-up (``recycling'') hypothesis. However, the absence of other clear examples remains puzzling. I will review the observational evidence for millisecond neutron star spins in LMXBs in general, and I will also discuss what we have learned from SAX J1808.4-3658 in particular.

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