Systematic uncertainties in the spectroscopic measurements of neutron-star masses and radii from thermonuclear x-ray bursts. II. Eddington limit
Güver, Tolga and Özel, Feryal and Psaltis, Dimitrios (2012) Systematic uncertainties in the spectroscopic measurements of neutron-star masses and radii from thermonuclear x-ray bursts. II. Eddington limit. Astrophysical Journal, 747 (1). ISSN 0004-637X
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/0004-637X/747/1/77
Time-resolved X-ray spectroscopy of thermonuclear bursts observed from low-mass X-ray binaries offer a unique tool to measure neutron-star masses and radii. In this paper, we continue our systematic analysis of all the X-ray bursts observed with Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer from X-ray binaries. We determine the events that show clear evidence for photospheric radius expansion and measure the Eddington limits for these accreting neutron stars using the bolometric fluxes attained at the touchdown moments of each X-ray burst. We employ a Bayesian technique to investigate the degree to which the Eddington limit for each source remains constant between bursts. We find that for sources with a large number of radius expansion bursts, systematic uncertainties are at a 5%-10% level. Moreover, in six sources with only pairs of Eddington-limited bursts, the distribution of fluxes is consistent with a similar to 10% fractional dispersion. This indicates that the spectroscopic measurements of neutron-star masses and radii using thermonuclear X-ray bursts can reach the level of accuracy required to distinguish between different neutronstar equations of state, provided that uncertainties related to the overall flux calibration of X-ray detectors are of comparable magnitude.
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