Understanding Parameter Degeneracies in Neutron Star X-ray Light Curves

  • Author / Creator
    Stevens, Abigail L
  • The equation of state for cold ultra-dense matter has puzzled astrophysicists for decades. This is because the conditions of supra-nuclear density matter, such as those in neutron stars, are not terrestrially replicable. X-ray light curves from accreting neutron stars have proven to be useful tools in studying the neutron star equation of state. Theory predicts that the light curve from a thermonuclear X-ray burst on a rapidly-rotating neutron star can be used to determine the characteristics of the burst ignition spot and constrain the mass and radius of the neutron star. We discuss the development of spherical and oblate neutron star models that yield an X-ray light curve comparable to that which would be observed. Using this simulation code with a genetic algorithm, we disentangle the effects of various parameters on the light curve, showing which parameter degeneracies will have the greatest impact on the observables.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2013
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Sivakoff, Gregory (Physics)
    • Heinke, Craig (Physics)
    • Davis, John (Physics)