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X-ray binary systems - Ariel V SSI observations.

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posted on 19.11.2015, 09:18 by Michael Geoffrey Watson
The basis of our current theoretical understanding of galactic x-ray sources is reviewed. Models are outlined involving close binary systems containing a compact object accreting mass which has been lost from the nondegenerate star by a variety of mechanisms. The present status of galactic x-ray astronomy is discussed, with emphasis on the links between established observational categories and the characteristics of the proposed models. Observational results, consisting primarily of extended x-ray light curves derived from analysis of Ariel V SSI data are presented for two main classes of galactic x-ray source: (i) high-mass x-ray binaries containing an early-type giant or supergiant star; (ii) low-mass x-ray binaries in which the nondegenerate star is a late-type dwarf. For the high-mass binaries emphasis is placed on the determination and improvement of the orbital parameters; for the low-mass binaries, where a less complete picture is available, the discussion centres on the type of system involved taking into account the optical observations of the source. Finally, the properties of two further categories - the sources in the galactic bulge and those associated with dwarf novae - are discussed as examples of rather different types of galactic x-ray emitter. In the case of the galactic bulge sources current observations have not lead so far to a clear picture of the nature of the systems involved, indeed their binary membership is not established. X-ray emission from dwarf novae and related objects is a relatively recent discovery and represents the opening up of a new field of galactic x-ray astronomy.


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Physics and Astronomy

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University of Leicester

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