Letter to the Editor
Accretion rate and the occurrence of multi-peaked X-ray bursts
Max Planck Institut für Astrophysik, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 1, 85741 Garching, Germany e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 26 March 2007
Most Type I X-ray bursts from accreting neutron stars have a lightcurve with a single peak, but there is a rare population of faint bursts that are double or even triple peaked. Suggested mechanisms include polar ignition with equatorial stalling, or multi-step energy release; the latter being caused by hydrodynamic instabilities or waiting points in the nuclear reaction sequence. We present an analysis of the accretion rate dependence of the multi-peak bursts, and discuss the consequences for the various models. The observations pose particular challenges for the polar ignition mechanism given current models of ignition latitude dependence.
Key words: binaries: general / stars: individual: 4U 1636-536 / stars: neutron / stars: rotation / X-rays: bursts / X-rays: stars
© ESO, 2007