Super-Eddington Winds from Type I X-Ray Bursts
Author(s)Yu, Hang; Weinberg, Nevin N.
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We present hydrodynamic simulations of spherically symmetric super-Eddington winds from radius-expansion type I X-ray bursts. Previous studies assumed a steady-state wind and treated the mass-loss rate as a free parameter. Using MESA, we follow the multi-zone time-dependent burning, the convective and radiative heating of the atmosphere during the burst rise, and the launch and evolution of the optically thick radiation-driven wind as the photosphere expands outward to radii r ph ≳ 100 km. We focus on neutron stars (NSs) accreting pure helium and study bursts over a range of ignition depths. We find that the wind ejects ≈0.2% of the accreted layer, nearly independent of ignition depth. This implies that ≈30% of the nuclear energy release is used to unbind matter from the NS surface. We show that ashes of nuclear burning are ejected in the wind and dominate the wind composition for bursts that ignite at column depths ≳10 9 g cm -2 . The ejecta are composed primarily of elements with mass numbers A > 40, which we find should imprint photoionization edges on the burst spectra. Evidence of heavy-element edges has been reported in the spectra of strong radius-expansion bursts. We find that after ≈1 s, the wind composition transitions from mostly light elements ( 4 He and 12 C), which sit at the top of the atmosphere, to mostly heavy elements (A > 40), which sit deeper down. This may explain why the photospheric radii of all superexpansion bursts show a transition after ≈1 s from a superexpansion () to a moderate expansion ().
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Physics; MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research
American Astronomical Society
Yu, Hang and Nevin N. Weinberg. "Super-Eddington Winds from Type I X-Ray Bursts." Astrophysical Journal 863, 1 (August 2018): 53 © 2018 The American Astronomical Society
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