Vol 18, No 11 (2018) / Christodoulou

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Flaring activity from quiescent states in neutron-star X-ray binaries

Dimitris M. Christodoulou, Silas G. T. Laycock, Demosthenes Kazanas, Ioannis Contopoulos

Abstract

We examine systematically the observed X-ray luminosity jumps (or flares) from quiescent states in millisecond binary pulsars (MSBPs) and high-mass X-ray binary pulsars (HMXBPs). We rely on the published X-ray light curves of seven pulsars: four HMXBPs, two MSBPs and the ultraluminous X-ray pulsar M82 X-2. We discuss the physics of their flaring activities or lack thereof, paying special attention to their emission properties when they are found on the propeller line, inside the Corbet gap or near the light-cylinder barrier. We provide guiding principles for future interpretations of faint X-ray observations, as well as a method of constraining the propeller lines and the dipolar surface magnetic fields of pulsars using a variety of quiescent states. In the process, we clarify some disturbing inaccuracies that have made their way into the published literature.

Keywords


accretion — accretion disks — pulsars: individual (4U 0115+63, V 0332+53, M82 X-2, Aquila X-1, SAX J1808.4–3658, AX J0049.4–7323, 1A 0535+262) — stars: magnetic fields — stars: neutron — X-rays: binaries

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1088/1674–4527/18/11/142

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