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Constraining the Physics of the X-ray Irradiated Accretion Discs in Low-mass X-ray Binaries with Observations

  • Author / Creator
    Tetarenko, Bailey E.
  • Recurring outbursts associated with matter flowing onto compact stellar remnants (black holes and neutron stars) in low-mass X-ray binary systems provide constraints on the poorly understood accretion process. Multi-wavelength light-curves and spectra of these bright outbursts provide powerful diagnostics to probe the physics behind the mechanisms driving mass inflow and outflow in these astrophysical systems. Using the population of low-mass X-ray binaries harbouring stellar-mass black holes in our Galaxy as a guide, I have developed an innovative methodology, to decode the physics of disc-accretion, hidden within observational data. In this thesis, I present this methodology, that combines observed X-ray, ultraviolet, optical, and infrared time-series and spectroscopic data, accretion theory, and advanced Bayesian statistical techniques. Using this methodology, I tackle the complex, multi-scale problem of understanding the evolution of accretion disc structure and the X-ray irradiating source heating the accretion discs throughout low-mass X-ray binary outbursts. Given the advanced monitoring capabilities of current ground and space-based observatories, ever-evolving abilities of numerical simulations, and the vast landscape of online multi-wavelength archival databases available, my methodology has the opportunity to open up a new chapter in accretion physics, one of the most fundamental building blocks of our Universe, responsible for the evolution of objects across astrophysical scales, from new born stars and planets to super-massive black holes at the centre of Galaxies.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2018
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R3TM72H0Q
  • License
    Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.