Journal Article

Thin accretion discs around millisecond X-ray pulsars

Solomon Belay Tessema and Ulf Torkelsson

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 412, issue 3, pages 1650-1658
Published in print April 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online April 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2010.18002.x
Thin accretion discs around millisecond X-ray pulsars

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Millisecond X-ray pulsars have weak magnetic dipole moments of ∼1016 T m3 compared to ordinary X-ray pulsars with dipole moments of 1020 T m3. For this reason a surrounding accretion disc can extend closer to the millisecond X-ray pulsars, and thus reach a higher temperature, at which the opacity is dominated by electron scattering and radiation pressure is strong. We compute the self-similar structure of such a geometrically thin axisymmetric accretion disc with an internal dynamo. Such models produce significantly stronger torques on the neutron star than models without dynamos, and can explain the strong spin variations in some millisecond X-ray pulsars.

Keywords: accretion, accretion discs; MHD; stars: magnetic field; stars: neutron; pulsars: general; X-rays: binaries

Journal Article.  5597 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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