A POSSIBLE SIGNATURE OF LENSE-THIRRING PRECESSION IN DIPPING AND ECLIPSING NEUTRON-STAR LOW-MASS X-RAY BINARIES
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Relativistic Lense-Thirring precession of a tilted inner accretion disk around a compact object has been proposed as a mechanism for low-frequency (~0.01-70 Hz) quasi-periodic oscillations (QPOs) in the light curves of X-ray binaries. A substantial misalignment angle (~15°-20°) between the inner-disk rotation axis and the compact-object spin axis is required for the effects of this precession to produce observable modulations in the X-ray light curve. A consequence of this misalignment is that in high-inclination X-ray binaries the precessing inner disk will quasi-periodically intercept our line of sight to the compact object. In the case of neutron-star systems, this should have a significant observational effect, since a large fraction of the accretion energy is released on or near the neutron-star surface. In this Letter, I suggest that this specific effect of Lense-Thirring precession may already have been observed as ~1 Hz QPOs in several dipping/eclipsing neutron-star X-ray binaries.
DepartmentMIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research
The Astrophysical Journal. Letters
Homan, Jeroen. “A POSSIBLE SIGNATURE OF LENSE-THIRRING PRECESSION IN DIPPING AND ECLIPSING NEUTRON-STAR LOW-MASS X-RAY BINARIES.” The Astrophysical Journal 760, no. 2 (November 8, 2012): L30. © 2012 The American Astronomical Society
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