NICER Observes a Secondary Peak in the Decay of a Thermonuclear Burst from 4U 1608–52

Gaurava K. Jaisawal*, Jérôme Chenevez, Peter Bult, Jean J. M. in’t Zand, Duncan K. Galloway, Tod E. Strohmayer, Tolga Güver, Phillip Adkins, Diego Altamirano, Zaven Arzoumanian, Deepto Chakrabarty, Jonathan Coopersmith, Keith C. Gendreau, Sebastien Guillot, Laurens Keek, Renee M. Ludlam, Christian Malacaria

*Corresponding author for this work

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We report for the first time below 1.5 keV, the detection of a secondary peak in an Eddington-limited thermonuclear X-ray burst observed by the Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) from the low-mass X-ray binary 4U 1608–52. Our time-resolved spectroscopy of the burst is consistent with a model consisting of a varying-temperature blackbody, and an evolving persistent flux contribution, likely attributed to the accretion process. The dip in the burst intensity before the secondary peak is also visible in the bolometric flux. Prior to the dip, the blackbody temperature reached a maximum of ≈3 keV. Our analysis suggests that the dip and secondary peak are not related to photospheric expansion, varying circumstellar absorption, or scattering. Instead, we discuss the observation in the context of hydrodynamical instabilities, thermonuclear flame spreading models, and reburning in the cooling tail of the burst.
Original languageEnglish
Article number61
JournalAstrophysical Journal Supplement Series
Issue number1
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Accretion
  • Accretion disks
  • Stars: individual (4U 1608-52)
  • Stars: neutron
  • X-rays: binaries
  • X-rays: bursts


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