Multifaceted Understanding of Accreting Neutron Stars and Their Environments: An X-ray Polarimetric Focus

Mason Ng (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Dec 7, 2023 3:30 PM
Location: TSI Conference Room
Special Seminar

X-ray imaging, timing, and spectroscopy of neutron stars have contributed immensely to our understanding of these dense, compact objects since the dawn of X-ray astronomy. However, many questions remain about the accretion geometry, magnetic field configurations, and particle acceleration mechanisms in accreting neutron stars. X-ray polarization has opened a new window into understanding accreting neutron stars, breaking degeneracies that exist in timing and spectroscopic analyses. The Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE), the first X-ray polarization mission in over 40 years, has observed over a dozen accreting neutron stars in its first two years of operations. I will describe some of the results from IXPE observations of accreting neutron stars thus far and discuss implications for our understanding of their accretion geometries. In particular, I will highlight results from one of the first-observed IXPE targets, 4U 1626-67, in which I showed that the observed low polarization levels are consistent with a hybrid accretion geometry, contrary to expectations.




Upcoming Seminars

TSI Seminars take place weekly during the Fall and Winter terms. TSI seminars are intended to be accessible to scientists from the entire breadth of backgrounds at TSI, including, Physics, Planetary Science, Geology, Atmospheric Science, and Astrobiology. Our seminar series is partially funded by the Centre de recherche en astrophysique du Québec (CRAQ).

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