Changing frequency separation of kilohertz quasi-periodic oscillations in the sonic-point beat-frequency model

Fk. Lamb et Mc. Miller, Changing frequency separation of kilohertz quasi-periodic oscillations in the sonic-point beat-frequency model, ASTROPHYS J, 554(2), 2001, pp. 1210-1215
Citations number
Categorie Soggetti
Space Sciences
Journal title
ISSN journal
0004-637X → ACNP
Year of publication
1210 - 1215
SICI code
We show that the sonic-point beat-frequency (SPBF) model of the pair of kil ohertz quasi-periodic oscillations (QPOs) observed in neutron star X-ray bi nary systems predicts that the frequency separation Delta nu between them i s usually not exactly equal to the spin frequency nu (s) of the star. Altho ugh the stellar spin interacts with the orbital motion of the accreting gas at the sonic radius with a frequency equal to sonic-point beat frequency, the X-ray oscillations are produced by interaction of the gas with the surf ace of the star, and their frequencies are therefore affected by the flow o f the gas from the sonic radius to the stellar surface. For prograde disk f low near the star, Delta nu is comparable to but usually less than nu (s), consistent with the observed values of Delta nu and the values of nu (s) in ferred from oscillations during X-ray bursts. We show that the SPBF model a lso explains naturally the decrease in Delta nu with increasing QPO frequen cies seen in some sources and the plateau in the QPO frequency-X-ray flux c orrelation observed in 4U 1820-30. The model fits well the QPO frequency be havior observed in Sco X-1, 4U 1608-52, 4U 1728-34, and 4U 1820-30 (chi (2) /degrees of freedom =0.4-2.1, not including systematic errors), giving mass es ranging from 1.59 to 2.0 M-circle dot and spin rates ranging from 279 to 364 Hz. Previous work on the model has shown that it naturally explains ma ny other properties of the kilohertz QPOs. These include the existence of j ust two principal kilohertz QPOs in a given source, the approximate commens urability of the burst oscillation frequency and Delta nu, and the high fre quencies, coherence, and amplitudes of these QPOs. In the SPBF model, the e xistence of kilohertz QPOs is an effect of strong-field general relativity. Thus, if the model is validated, observations of the kilohertz QPOs can be used not only to determine the properties of neutron stars but also to exp lore quantitatively general relativistic effects in the strong-field regime .