The spectra of weakly magnetized neutron stars

Albert Fu*, Ronald E. Taam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

The continuum spectrum of a rotating equatorial emitting region on the surface of an accreting neutron star is investigated within the Schwarzschild spacetime. It is found that the dominant general relativistic effect is the increase in apparent emission area from the neutron star surface due to gravitational light bending. For typical neutron star parameters the apparent area of the accretion belt is remarkably independent of the viewing angle and, hence, the contribution of a boundary layer to the total X-ray luminosity is found to depend only weakly on the inclination angle of the binary system. For a blackbody spectrum in the local rest frame of the emitting surface the distortion of the spectral shape by longitudinal and transverse Doppler shifts is minimal for neutron stars rotating at periods greater than ∼2 ms. It is shown that the failure to detect a blackbody component from the weakly magnetized neutron star surface in some X-ray burst sources during their quiescent state may be related to the presence of temperature variations along the vertical extent of the boundary layer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-214
Number of pages10
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume353
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 10 1990

Keywords

  • Radiation mechanisms
  • Relativity
  • Stars: magnetic
  • Stars: neutron
  • X-rays: binaries
  • X-rays: bursts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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