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Abteilung Astronomie

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Preprint 12/10

X-ray bursting neutron star atmosphere models: spectra and color corrections

V.Suleimanov (1,2), J.Poutanen (3), K.Werner (1)

(1) Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Tuebingen, Germany
(2) Kazan Federal University, Russia
(3) Astronomy Division, Department of Physics, University of Oulu, Finland

To be published in: A&A

Abstract. X-ray bursting neutron stars in low mass X-ray binaries constitute an appropriate source class to constrain masses and radii of neutron stars, but a sufficiently extended set of corresponding model atmospheres is necessary for these investigations. We computed such a set of model atmospheres and emergent spectra in a plane-parallel, hydrostatic, and LTE approximation with Compton scattering taken into account. The models were calculated for six different chemical compositions: pure hydrogen and pure helium atmospheres, and atmospheres with solar mix of hydrogen and helium, and various heavy element abundances Z = 1, 0.3, 0.1, and 0.01 Z_sun. For each chemical composition the models are computed for three values of surface gravity, log g =14.0, 14.3, and 14.6, and for 20 values of the luminosity in units of the Eddington luminosity, L/L_Edd, in the range 0.001--0.98. The emergent spectra of all models are redshifted and fitted by a diluted blackbody in the RXTE/PCA 3--20 keV e nergy band, and corresponding values of the color correction (hardness factors) f_c are presented. Theoretical dependences f_c - L/L_Edd can fitted to the observed dependence K^{-1/4} - F of the blackbody normalization K on flux during cooling stages of X-ray bursts to determine the Eddington flux and the ratio of the apparent neutron star radius to the source distance. If the distance is known, these parameters can be transformed to the constraints on neutron star mass and radius. The theoretical atmosphere spectra can also be used for direct comparison with the observed X-ray burst spectra.

Astrophysics (astro-ph): 1009.6147

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