Astronomy Letters

, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 29–45 | Cite as

Modeling the luminosity function of galactic low-mass X-ray binaries

  • A. G. KuranovEmail author
  • K. A. Postnov
  • M. G. Revnivtsev


The evolution of the family of binaries with a low-mass star and a compact neutron star companion (low-mass X-ray binaries (LMXBs) with neutron stars) ismodeled by the method of population synthesis. Continuous Roche-lobe filling by the optical star in LMXBs is assumed to be maintained by the removal of orbital angular momentum from the binary by a magnetic stellar wind from the optical star and the radiation of gravitational waves by the binary. The developed model of LMXB evolution has the following significant distinctions: (1) allowance for the effect of the rotational evolution of a magnetized compact remnant on themass transfer scenario in the binary, (2) amore accurate allowance for the response of the donor star to mass loss at the Roche-lobe filling stage. The results of theoretical calculations are shown to be in good agreement with the observed orbital period-X-ray luminosity diagrams for persistent Galactic LMXBs and their X-ray luminosity function. This suggests that the main elements of binary evolution, on the whole, are correctly reflected in the developed code. It is shown that most of the Galactic bulge LMXBs at luminosities L x > 1037 erg s−1 should have a post-main-sequence Roche-lobe-filling secondary component (low-mass giants). Almost all of the models considered predict a deficit of LMXBs at X-ray luminosities near ∼1036.5 erg s−1 due to the transition of the binary from the regime of angular momentum removal by a magnetic stellar wind to the regime of gravitational waves (analogous to the widely known period gap in cataclysmic variables, accreting white dwarfs). At low luminosities, the shape of the model luminosity function for LMXBs is affected significantly by their transient behavior-the accretion rate onto the compact companion is not always equal to the mass transfer rate due to instabilities in the accretion disk around the compact object. The best agreement with observed binaries is achieved in the models suggesting that heavy neutron stars with masses 1.4–1.9M can be born.


X-ray sources low-mass X-ray binaries accretion 


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Copyright information

© Pleiades Publishing, Inc. 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. G. Kuranov
    • 1
    Email author
  • K. A. Postnov
    • 1
  • M. G. Revnivtsev
    • 2
  1. 1.Sternberg Astronomical InstituteUniversitetskii pr. 13MoscowRussia
  2. 2.Space Research InstituteMoscowRussia

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