Results of a LMXB Survey: Variation in the Height of the Neutron Star Blackbody Emission Region

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We present results of a survey of the spectra of LOW Mass X-ray Binaries using ASCA. It is shown that all sources in the survey are well-fitted by the same two-component emission model that we have previously shown is able to describe bath the non-dip and dip spect rs of the dipping class of LMXB. This model consists of point-like blackbody emission from the neutron star plus Comptonized emission from a disk-like accretion disk corona of radius typically 50 000 km, Additional data from results published elsewhere by us from BeppoSAX and ASCA are added to the survey. The lar-ge variation in blackbody luminosity of survey sources is shown to be due primarily to major changes in blackbody emitting area. Fitting a multi-temperature disk blackbody plus Comptonization model to the survey spectra requires values of inner disk radius substantially less then the neutron star radius in many cases, making disk origin of the blackbody highly unlikely. Assuming that the emission is from an equatorial strip on the neutron star, it: is shown that the half-height of the strip h agrees well with the half-height H of the radiatively-supported inner accretion disk, this agreement spanning three orders of magnitude in each parameter. Possible mechanisms for the agreement are discussed, including radial accretion flow between inner disk and star, and accretion how "creep" on the surface of the neutron star.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)915-924
Number of pages10
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2001


  • accretion : accretion disks, binaries : close, X-rays : stars, stars : neutron