Volume 399, Number 2, February IV 2003
|Page(s)||663 - 680|
|Section||Stellar structure and evolution|
|Published online||07 February 2003|
Photospheric radius expansion X-ray bursts as standard candles
SRON National Institute for Space Research, Sorbonnelaan 2, 3584 CA Utrecht, The Netherlands e-mail: Erik.Kuulkers@rssd.esa.int
2 Astronomical Institute, Utrecht University, PO Box 80000, 3508 TA Utrecht, The Netherlands
3 Department of Physics and Astronomy, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON L8S 4M1, Canada
4 Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica (IASF) Area Ricerca Roma Tor Vergata, Via del Fosso del Cavaliere, 00133 Roma, Italy
Corresponding author: E. Kuulkers, firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 29 November 2002
We examined the maximum bolometric peak luminosities during type I X-ray bursts from the persistent or transient luminous X-ray sources in globular clusters. We show that for about two thirds of the sources the maximum peak luminosities during photospheric radius expansion X-ray bursts extend to a critical value of erg s-1, assuming the total X-ray burst emission is entirely due to black-body radiation and the recorded maximum luminosity is the actual peak luminosity. This empirical critical luminosity is consistent with the Eddington luminosity limit for hydrogen poor material. Since the critical luminosity is more or less always reached during photospheric radius expansion X-ray bursts (except for one source), such bursts may be regarded as empirical standard candles. However, because significant deviations do occur, our standard candle is only accurate to within 15%. We re-evaluated the distances to the twelve globular clusters in which the X-ray bursters reside.
Key words: binaries: close / stars: neutron / globular clusters: general / X-rays: binaries / X-rays: bursts
© ESO, 2003
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