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Kilohertz Quasi-Periodic Oscillations in Low-Mass X-Ray Binaries

  • M. Van Der Klis
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Library book series (ASSL, volume 218)

Abstract

In early 1996 a series of discoveries begun with NASA’s Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer of a new, up to then unknown astrophysical phenomenon. It turned out that accreting low magnetic-field neutron stars show quasi-periodic oscillations in their X-ray flux at rates of up to more than a kilohertz. These kHz QPO, now reported from eleven different systems, are among the fastest phenomena in the sky and can provide us with new information about the fundamental properties of neutron stars and help testing general relativity in the strong-field regime. If, for example, their frequencies can be identified with the Keplerian frequencies of matter in orbit around a 1.4M neutron star, then the radius of the star would have to be less than 15 km, which directly constrains the equation of state of bulk nuclear-density matter, and for an only slightly tighter orbit or slightly more massive neutron star the orbital radius would equal the Schwarzschild-geometry general-relativistic marginally stable orbit (12.5 km for a 1.4M object). So far all models that have been put forward for explaining the new phenomenon have encountered problems. In this paper I review the relatively simple and highly suggestive phenomenology as it has emerged from the data up to now, and discuss some of the proposed models.

Keywords

Neutron Star Accretion Rate Stable Orbit Neutron Star Surface Testing General Relativity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Van Der Klis
    • 1
  1. 1.Astronomical Institute “Anton Pannekoek”University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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