HEAD 2003 Meeting
Session 41. X-ray Binaries I
Invited, Tuesday, March 25, 2003, 4:00-4:30pm

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[41.01] Superbursts: Thermonuclear Fury on Neutron Stars

T. E. Strohmayer (NASA/GSFC)

In the last few years a new regime of thermonuclear burning on neutron stars has been discovered. This new regime manifests itself through the production of hours long flares with a recurrence time on the order of years. These flares are now commonly referred to as "superbursts." Their discovery was made possible by sensitive, long term monitoring of the X-ray sky with the BeppoSAX Wide Field Cameras (WFC) and the RXTE All Sky Monitor (ASM). I will briefly review the current observational and theoretical understanding of these events, and what they are teaching us about neutron stars and thermonuclear burning on them. I will also discuss recent high time resolution studies of a superburst from 4U 1636-53 with RXTE which showed coherent oscillations at the well known 582 Hz burst oscillation frequency in this source.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: Tod.E.Strohmayer@nasa.gov

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35#2
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.