What can NuSTAR do for X-ray bursts?

The NuSTAR Team

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Unstable thermonuclear burning on the surface of accreting neutron stars is commonly observed as type I X-ray bursts. The flux released during some strong bursts can temporarily exceed the
Eddington limit, driving the neutron star photosphere to such large radii that heavy-element ashes of nuclear burning are ejected in the burst expansion wind. We have investigated the possibility of observing with NuSTAR some X-ray bursters selected for their high burst rate and trend to exhibit so-called superexpansion bursts. Our main ambition is to detect the photoionization edges associated with the ejected nuclear ashes, and identify the corresponding heavy elements. A positive identification of such edges would probe the nuclear burning processes, and provide a measure of the expans ion wind velocity as well as the gravitational redshift from the neutron star. Moreover, we exp ect that the high sensitivity of NuSTAR in hard X-rays will make it possible to study the behavi our of the accretion emission during the bursts, which is an important parameter to constrain the properties of the X-ray burst emission and thermonuclear burning.
Original languageEnglish
JournalP o S - Proceedings of Science
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Event 9th INTEGRAL Workshop: An INTEGRAL view of the high-energy sky (the first 10 years) - Paris, France
Duration: 15 Oct 201219 Oct 2012
Conference number: 9


Conference 9th INTEGRAL Workshop

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