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Difference between outbursts and flares in X-ray accreting binaries

  1. Jul 2, 2012 #1


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    Hello to everybody.

    I am studying the accreting neutron stars (pulsars) in the X-ray band.
    Reading a number of papers, I noticed that there are two kinds of transients: the "outbursts" and the "flares".
    Unfortunately, I still don't understand what is the difference between them, if it is.

    Anyone can help me?
    Thanks in advance
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 2, 2012 #2
    It has been a little while since I've done research on X-ray emission from neutron stars, but a possible difference might be the timescale of the event. Flares tend to imply a brief period of enhanced X-ray emission, where an outburst does not have to mean brief (ex: superburst last for hours). But I wouldn't get too hung up on this nomenclature. I'm also saying that I don't know the difference as used in the literature.

    There are other discriminators between types of X-ray events in these systems. I believe that people often refer to "type I" or "type II" events, which refer to the origin of the X-ray emission (surface/accretion disk respectively, I think). So long as you are aware of the context of the event, the designations aren't the most important things.
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