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Magnetic field of Rapid Burster may solve puzzling Rapid Burster behaviour

Scientists Have Been Observing A Curious Neutron Star In A Binary System Known As The 'Rapid Burster' For Last 40 Years.

News Nation Bureau | Edited By : Hina Khan | Updated on: 01 Feb 2017, 09:34:59 PM
Magnetic field of Rapid Burster may solve puzzling Rapid Burster behaviour

New Delhi:

Scientists have been observing a curious neutron star in a binary system known as the 'Rapid Burster' for last 40 years.

Now the researchers have found its magnetic field that could apparently explain decade-old mystery surrounding its puzzling X-ray bursts.

Rapid Burster, a binary system comprising a low-mass star in its prime and a neutron star, was discovered in 1970s.

Scientists discovered that its magnetic field creates a gap around the star, largely preventing it from feeding on matter from its stellar companion.

How does it happen?

When gas builds up, under certain conditions, it hits the neutron star all at once, producing intense flashes of X-rays.

This discovery was reported in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Some kind of accretion that arises out of gravitational pull of the dense remnant strips the other star of some of its gas.

This accretion process continuously releases large amounts of X-rays, which are punctuated by additional X-ray flashes every few hours or days.

These have been termed as 'type-I' bursts, in terms of nuclear reactions that are ignited in the inflowing gas -- mainly hydrogen - when it accumulates on the neutron star's surface.

But the Rapid Burster is a peculiar source in itself at its brightest and it does emit these type-I flashes.

While during periods of lower X-ray emission, it exhibits the much more elusive 'type-II' bursts - these are sudden, erratic and extremely intense releases of X-rays.

Scientists believe this Rapid Burster is the archetypal system to investigate type-II bursts.

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First Published : 01 Feb 2017, 09:27:00 PM