skip to main content
DOE PAGES title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Influence of Nuclear Reaction Rate Uncertainties on Neutron Star Properties Extracted from X-Ray Burst Model–Observation Comparisons

Abstract

We report that type-I X-ray bursts can be used to determine properties of accreting neutron stars via comparisons between model calculations and astronomical observations, exploiting the sensitivity of models to astrophysical conditions. However, the sensitivity of models to nuclear physics uncertainties calls into question the fidelity of constraints derived in this way. Using X-ray burst model calculations performed with the code MESA, we investigate the impact of uncertainties for nuclear reaction rates previously identified as influential and compare them to the impact of changes in astrophysical conditions, using the conditions that are thought to best reproduce the source GS 1826-24 as a baseline. We find that reaction rate uncertainties are unlikely to significantly change conclusions about the properties of accretion onto the neutron star surface for this source. However, we find that reaction rate uncertainties significantly hinder the possibility of extracting the neutron star mass–radius ratio by matching the modeled and observed light curves, due to the influence of reaction rates on the modeled light curve shape. Particularly influential nuclear reaction rates are 15O(α, γ) and 23Al(p, γ), though other notable impacts arise from 14O(α, p), 18Ne(α, p), 22Mg(a, p), 24Mg(α, γ), 59Cu(p, g), and 61Ga(p, γ). Additionally, we findmore » that varying some nuclear reaction rates within their uncertainties has an impact on the neutron star crust composition and thermal structure that is comparable to relatively significant changes to the accretion conditions.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1]
  1. Ohio Univ., Athens, OH (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Ohio Univ., Athens, OH (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Nuclear Physics (NP) (SC-26)
OSTI Identifier:
1506682
Grant/Contract Number:  
SC0019042; FG02-88ER40387
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: The Astrophysical Journal (Online); Journal Volume: 872; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 1538-4357
Publisher:
Institute of Physics (IOP)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
73 NUCLEAR PHYSICS AND RADIATION PHYSICS; 79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS; neutron star; x-ray burst; nuclear reaction rate

Citation Formats

Meisel, Zach, Merz, Grant, and Medvid, Sophia. Influence of Nuclear Reaction Rate Uncertainties on Neutron Star Properties Extracted from X-Ray Burst Model–Observation Comparisons. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/aafede.
Meisel, Zach, Merz, Grant, & Medvid, Sophia. Influence of Nuclear Reaction Rate Uncertainties on Neutron Star Properties Extracted from X-Ray Burst Model–Observation Comparisons. United States. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/aafede.
Meisel, Zach, Merz, Grant, and Medvid, Sophia. Wed . "Influence of Nuclear Reaction Rate Uncertainties on Neutron Star Properties Extracted from X-Ray Burst Model–Observation Comparisons". United States. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/aafede. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1506682.
@article{osti_1506682,
title = {Influence of Nuclear Reaction Rate Uncertainties on Neutron Star Properties Extracted from X-Ray Burst Model–Observation Comparisons},
author = {Meisel, Zach and Merz, Grant and Medvid, Sophia},
abstractNote = {We report that type-I X-ray bursts can be used to determine properties of accreting neutron stars via comparisons between model calculations and astronomical observations, exploiting the sensitivity of models to astrophysical conditions. However, the sensitivity of models to nuclear physics uncertainties calls into question the fidelity of constraints derived in this way. Using X-ray burst model calculations performed with the code MESA, we investigate the impact of uncertainties for nuclear reaction rates previously identified as influential and compare them to the impact of changes in astrophysical conditions, using the conditions that are thought to best reproduce the source GS 1826-24 as a baseline. We find that reaction rate uncertainties are unlikely to significantly change conclusions about the properties of accretion onto the neutron star surface for this source. However, we find that reaction rate uncertainties significantly hinder the possibility of extracting the neutron star mass–radius ratio by matching the modeled and observed light curves, due to the influence of reaction rates on the modeled light curve shape. Particularly influential nuclear reaction rates are 15O(α, γ) and 23Al(p, γ), though other notable impacts arise from 14O(α, p), 18Ne(α, p), 22Mg(a, p), 24Mg(α, γ), 59Cu(p, g), and 61Ga(p, γ). Additionally, we find that varying some nuclear reaction rates within their uncertainties has an impact on the neutron star crust composition and thermal structure that is comparable to relatively significant changes to the accretion conditions.},
doi = {10.3847/1538-4357/aafede},
journal = {The Astrophysical Journal (Online)},
number = 1,
volume = 872,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {2}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record

Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 1 work
Citation information provided by
Web of Science

Save / Share:

Works referenced in this record:

Level structure of 30 S and its importance in the 26 Si( α , p ) 29 P and 29 P( p , γ ) 30 S reaction rates
journal, December 2012


Thermonuclear processes on accreting neutron stars - A systematic study
journal, May 1982

  • Ayasli, S.; Joss, P. C.
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 256
  • DOI: 10.1086/159940

Neutron-star Radius Constraints from GW170817 and Future Detections
journal, November 2017

  • Bauswein, Andreas; Just, Oliver; Janka, Hans-Thomas
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 850, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aa9994

Theory and observations of Type I X-Ray bursts from neutron stars
conference, January 2000

  • Bildsten, Lars
  • The tenth astrophysics conference: Cosmic explosions, AIP Conference Proceedings
  • DOI: 10.1063/1.1291736

On the Dependence of the X-Ray Burst Rate on Accretion and Spin Rate
journal, December 2017

  • Cavecchi, Yuri; Watts, Anna L.; Galloway, Duncan K.
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 851, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/aa9897

Long Type I X‐Ray Bursts and Neutron Star Interior Physics
journal, July 2006

  • Cumming, Andrew; Macbeth, Jared; Zand, J. J. M. in ’t
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 646, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1086/504698

The jina Reaclib Database: its Recent Updates and Impact on Type-I X-Ray Bursts
journal, June 2010

  • Cyburt, Richard H.; Amthor, A. Matthew; Ferguson, Ryan
  • The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, Vol. 189, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1088/0067-0049/189/1/240

Dependence of X-Ray Burst Models on Nuclear Reaction Rates
journal, October 2016


THE INFLUENCE OF UNCERTAINTIES IN THE 15 O(α, γ) 19 Ne REACTION RATE ON MODELS OF TYPE I X-RAY BURSTS
journal, June 2011


The C 12 ( α , γ ) O 16 reaction and its implications for stellar helium burning
journal, September 2017


A Strong Shallow heat Source in the Accreting Neutron star maxi J0556-332
journal, August 2015


Urca Cooling Pairs in the Neutron star Ocean and Their Effect on Superbursts
journal, October 2016


β -delayed proton emission of 69 Kr and the 68 Se rp-process waiting point
journal, November 2014


Neutron Skins and Neutron Stars in the Multimessenger Era
journal, April 2018


Explosive Hydrogen Burning during Type I X‐Ray Bursts
journal, January 2008

  • Fisker, Jacob Lund; Schatz, Hendrik; Thielemann, Friedrich‐Karl
  • The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, Vol. 174, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1086/521104

The Nuclear Reaction Waiting Points: 22 Mg, 26 Si, 30 S, and 34 Ar and Bolometrically Double-peaked Type I X-Ray Bursts
journal, May 2004

  • Fisker, Jacob Lund; Thielemann, Friedrich-Karl; Wiescher, Michael
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 608, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1086/422215

Branching ratio of 18 Ne(7.06 MeV, 4 + )
journal, December 2012


Angular distribution of radiation from low-mass X-ray binaries
journal, January 1988

  • Fujimoto, Masayuki Y.
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 324
  • DOI: 10.1086/165955

Shell flashes on accreting neutron stars and X-ray bursts
journal, July 1981

  • Fujimoto, M. Y.; Hanawa, T.; Miyaji, S.
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 247
  • DOI: 10.1086/159034

Periodic Thermonuclear X‐Ray Bursts from GS 1826−24 and the Fuel Composition as a Function of Accretion Rate
journal, January 2004

  • Galloway, Duncan K.; Cumming, Andrew; Kuulkers, Erik
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 601, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1086/380445

Thermonuclear Burst Observations for Model Comparisons: A Reference Sample
journal, January 2017

  • Galloway, Duncan K.; Goodwin, Adelle J.; Keek, Laurens
  • Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia, Vol. 34
  • DOI: 10.1017/pasa.2017.12

Thermonuclear (Type I) X‐Ray Bursts Observed by the Rossi X‐Ray Timing Explorer
journal, December 2008

  • Galloway, Duncan K.; Muno, Michael P.; Hartman, Jacob M.
  • The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, Vol. 179, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1086/592044

Measurement of the Radius of Neutron Stars with high Signal-To-Noise Quiescent Low-Mass X-Ray Binaries in Globular Clusters
journal, June 2013

  • Guillot, Sebastien; Servillat, Mathieu; Webb, Natalie A.
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 772, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/772/1/7

Heating in the Accreted Neutron Star Ocean: Implications for Superburst Ignition
journal, June 2007

  • Gupta, Sanjib; Brown, Edward F.; Schatz, Hendrik
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 662, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1086/517869

Models of Type I X-Ray Bursts from GS 1826-24: A Probe of rp-Process Hydrogen Burning
journal, November 2007

  • Heger, Alexander; Cumming, Andrew; Galloway, Duncan K.
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 671, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1086/525522

Studies in Stellar Evolution. III. The Calculation of Model Envelopes.
journal, October 1965

  • Henyey, Louis; Vardya, M. S.; Bodenheimer, Peter
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 142
  • DOI: 10.1086/148357

Examination of the role of the O 14 ( α , p ) F 17 reaction rate in type-I x-ray bursts
journal, August 2014


Charged-particle thermonuclear reaction rates: II. Tables and graphs of reaction rates and probability density functions
journal, October 2010


Neutron star cooling and the rp process in thermonuclear X-ray bursts
journal, October 2017


Simulating X-ray bursts during a transient accretion event
journal, March 2018

  • Johnston, Zac; Heger, Alexander; Galloway, Duncan K.
  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 477, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1093/mnras/sty757

X-ray bursts and neutron-star thermonuclear flashes
journal, November 1977


Thermonuclear Bursts with Short Recurrence Times from Neutron Stars Explained by Opacity-driven Convection
journal, June 2017


Upper Limits Set by Causality on the Rotation and Mass of Uniformly Rotating Relativistic Stars
journal, October 1997

  • Koranda, Scott; Stergioulas, Nikolaos; Friedman, John L.
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 488, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1086/304714

The Influence of Accretion rate and Metallicity on Thermonuclear Bursts: Predictions from Kepler Models
journal, February 2016

  • Lampe, Nathanael; Heger, Alexander; Galloway, Duncan K.
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 819, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.3847/0004-637X/819/1/46

Determining the r p -Process Flow through Ni 56 : Resonances in Cu 57 ( p , γ ) Zn 58 Identified with GRETINA
journal, July 2014


Nuclear Reactions in the Crusts of Accreting Neutron Stars
journal, May 2018


High-precision ( p , t ) reaction measurement to determine Ne 18 ( α , p ) Na 21 reaction rates
journal, November 2009


Ignition latitude and the shape of Type I X-ray bursts: Ignition latitude and X-ray burst shape
journal, December 2007


Constraints on Bygone Nucleosynthesis of Accreting Neutron Stars
journal, March 2017


Nuclear physics of the outer layers of accreting neutron stars
journal, July 2018

  • Meisel, Zach; Deibel, Alex; Keek, Laurens
  • Journal of Physics G: Nuclear and Particle Physics, Vol. 45, Issue 9
  • DOI: 10.1088/1361-6471/aad171

Mass Measurement of Sc 56 Reveals a Small A = 56 Odd-Even Mass Staggering, Implying a Cooler Accreted Neutron Star Crust
journal, October 2015


Thermonuclear reaction rate of Ne 18 ( α , p ) Na 21 from Monte Carlo calculations
journal, December 2014


Nuclear Ground-State Masses and Deformations
journal, March 1995

  • Moller, P.; Nix, J. R.; Myers, W. D.
  • Atomic Data and Nuclear Data Tables, Vol. 59, Issue 2, p. 185-381
  • DOI: 10.1006/adnd.1995.1002

Impact of uncertainties in reaction Q values on nucleosynthesis in type I x-ray bursts
journal, April 2009


The Effects of Variations in Nuclear Processes on Type I X‐Ray Burst Nucleosynthesis
journal, September 2008

  • Parikh, Anuj; José, Jordi; Moreno, Fermín
  • The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, Vol. 178, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1086/589879

Modules for Experiments in Stellar Astrophysics (Mesa)
journal, December 2010

  • Paxton, Bill; Bildsten, Lars; Dotter, Aaron
  • The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, Vol. 192, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1088/0067-0049/192/1/3

Modules for Experiments in Stellar Astrophysics (Mesa): Planets, Oscillations, Rotation, and Massive Stars
journal, August 2013

  • Paxton, Bill; Cantiello, Matteo; Arras, Phil
  • The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, Vol. 208, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1088/0067-0049/208/1/4

Modules for Experiments in Stellar Astrophysics (Mesa): Binaries, Pulsations, and Explosions
journal, September 2015

  • Paxton, Bill; Marchant, Pablo; Schwab, Josiah
  • The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, Vol. 220, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1088/0067-0049/220/1/15

Modules for Experiments in Stellar Astrophysics (${\mathtt{M}}{\mathtt{E}}{\mathtt{S}}{\mathtt{A}}$): Convective Boundaries, Element Diffusion, and Massive Star Explosions
journal, February 2018

  • Paxton, Bill; Schwab, Josiah; Bauer, Evan B.
  • The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, Vol. 234, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.3847/1538-4365/aaa5a8

The Rapid Proton Process Ashes from Stable Nuclear Burning on an Accreting Neutron Star
journal, October 1999

  • Schatz, Hendrik; Bildsten, Lars; Cumming, Andrew
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 524, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1086/307837

First Measurement of Excited States in the Very Proton Rich Nucleus 24 Si and the Consequences for 22 Na Nucleosynthesis in Novae
journal, November 1997


Strong neutrino cooling by cycles of electron capture and β− decay in neutron star crusts
journal, December 2013


Dependence of X-Ray Burst Models on Nuclear Masses
journal, August 2017


Nuclear Data Sheets for A = 22
journal, July 2015


Constraining the mass and radius of neutron stars in globular clusters
journal, January 2018

  • Steiner, A. W.; Heinke, C. O.; Bogdanov, S.
  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 476, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1093/mnras/sty215

Quiescent thermal emission from neutron stars in low-mass X-ray binaries
journal, April 2015


Reaction rates and reaction sequences in the rp-process
journal, September 1994

  • van Wormer, L.; Goerres, J.; Iliadis, C.
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 432
  • DOI: 10.1086/174572

Explosive hydrogen burning
journal, January 1981

  • Wallace, R. K.; Woosley, S. E.
  • The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, Vol. 45
  • DOI: 10.1086/190717

Presupernova evolution of massive stars
journal, October 1978

  • Weaver, T. A.; Zimmerman, G. B.; Woosley, S. E.
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 225
  • DOI: 10.1086/156569

Exposing the Nuclear Burning Ashes of Radius Expansion Type I X‐Ray Bursts
journal, March 2006

  • Weinberg, Nevin N.; Bildsten, Lars; Schatz, Hendrik
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 639, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1086/499426

Break-out reactions from the CNO cycles
journal, January 1999

  • Wiescher, M.; Görres, J.; Schatz, H.
  • Journal of Physics G: Nuclear and Particle Physics, Vol. 25, Issue 6
  • DOI: 10.1088/0954-3899/25/6/201

Models for Type I X‐Ray Bursts with Improved Nuclear Physics
journal, March 2004

  • Woosley, S. E.; Heger, A.; Cumming, A.
  • The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, Vol. 151, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1086/381533

Constraints on Neutron star mass and Radius in gs 1826–24 from Sub-Eddington X-Ray Bursts
journal, March 2012

  • Zamfir, Michael; Cumming, Andrew; Galloway, Duncan K.
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 749, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/749/1/69