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Search Results: 1 - 10 of 405350 matches for " M. Coleman Miller "
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A Characterization of the Brightness Oscillations During Thermonuclear Bursts From 4U 1636-536
M. Coleman Miller
Physics , 1999, DOI: 10.1086/308438
Abstract: The discovery of nearly coherent brightness oscillations during thermonuclear X-ray bursts from six neutron-star low-mass X-ray binaries has opened up a new way to study the propagation of thermonuclear burning, and may ultimately lead to greater understanding of thermonuclear propagation in other astrophysical contexts, such as in Type Ia supernovae. Here we report detailed analyses of the ~580 Hz brightness oscillations during bursts from 4U 1636-536. We investigate the bursts as a whole and, in more detail, the initial portions of the bursts. We analyze the ~580 Hz oscillations in the initial 0.75 seconds of the five bursts that were used in a previous search for a brightness oscillation at the expected ~290 Hz spin frequency, and find that if the same frequency model describes all five bursts there is insufficient data to require more than a constant frequency or, possibly, a frequency plus a frequency derivative. Therefore, although it is appropriate to use an arbitrarily complicated model of the ~580 Hz oscillations to generate a candidate waveform for the ~290 Hz oscillations, models with more than two parameters are not required by the data. For the bursts as a whole we show that the characteristics of the brightness oscillations vary greatly from burst to burst. We find, however, that in at least one of the bursts, and possibly in three of the four that have strong brightness oscillations throughout the burst, the oscillation frequency reaches a maximum several seconds into the burst and then decreases. This behavior has not been reported previously for burst brightness oscillations, and it poses a challenge to the standard burning layer expansion explanation for the frequency changes.
Reionization Constraints on the Contribution of Primordial Compact Objects to Dark Matter
M. Coleman Miller
Physics , 2000, DOI: 10.1086/317197
Abstract: Many lines of evidence suggest that nonbaryonic dark matter constitutes roughly 30% of the critical closure density, but the composition of this dark matter is unknown. One class of candidates for the dark matter is compact objects formed in the early universe, with typical masses M between 0.1 and 1 solar masses to correspond to the mass scale of objects found with microlensing observing projects. Specific candidates of this type include black holes formed at the epoch of the QCD phase transition, quark stars, and boson stars. Here we show that accretion onto these objects produces substantial ionization in the early universe, with an optical depth to Thomson scattering out to z=1100 of approximately tau=2-4 [f_CO\epsilon_{-1}(M/Msun)]^{1/2} (H_0/65)^{-1}, where \epsilon_{-1} is the accretion efficiency \epsilon\equiv L/{\dot M}c^2 divided by 0.1 and f_CO is the fraction of matter in the compact objects. The current upper limit to the scattering optical depth, based on the anisotropy of the microwave background, is approximately 0.4. Therefore, if accretion onto these objects is relatively efficient, they cannot be the main component of nonbaryonic dark matter.
Gravitational Radiation from Intermediate-Mass Black Holes
M. Coleman Miller
Physics , 2002, DOI: 10.1086/344156
Abstract: Recent X-ray observations of galaxies with ROSAT, ASCA, and Chandra have revealed numerous bright off-center point sources which, if isotropic emitters, are likely to be intermediate-mass black holes, with hundreds to thousands of solar masses. The origin of these objects is under debate, but observations suggest that a significant number of them currently reside in young high-density stellar clusters. There is also growing evidence that some Galactic globular clusters harbor black holes of similar mass, from observations of stellar kinematics. In such high-density stellar environments, the interactions of intermediate-mass black holes are promising sources of gravitational waves for ground-based and space-based detectors. Here we explore the signal strengths of binaries containing intermediate-mass black holes or stellar-mass black holes in dense stellar clusters. We estimate that a few to tens per year of these objects will be detectable during the last phase of their inspiral with the advanced LIGO detector, and up to tens per year will be seen during merger, depending on the spins of the black holes. We also find that if these objects reside in globular clusters then tens of sources will be detectable with LISA from the Galactic globular system in a five year integration, and similar numbers will be detectable from more distant galaxies. The signal strength depends on the eccentricity distribution, but we show that there is promise for strong detection of pericenter precession and Lense-Thirring precession of the orbital plane. We conclude by discussing what could be learned about binaries, dense stellar systems, and strong gravity if such signals are detected.
Models of Kilohertz Quasi-Periodic Brightness Oscillations
M. Coleman Miller
Physics , 1997,
Abstract: The remarkable discovery of kilohertz quasi-periodic brightness oscillations (QPOs) in the accretion-powered emission from some sixteen neutron-star low-mass X-ray binary systems has led to much speculation about and theoretical modeling of the origin of these oscillations. It has also led to intense study of the implications that these QPOs have for the properties of neutron stars and of the accretion flow onto them. In this review we describe the strengths and weaknesses of the models that have been proposed for the kilohertz QPOs observed in the accretion-powered emission. We conclude that beat-frequency models, and in particular the sonic-point model, are currently the most promising. If these models are correct, the kilohertz QPOs provide the strongest constraints to date on the masses and radii of neutron stars in low-mass X-ray binaries, and on the equation of state of the dense matter in all neutron stars.
Evidence for Antipodal Hot Spots During X-ray Bursts From 4U 1636-536
M. Coleman Miller
Physics , 1998, DOI: 10.1086/311970
Abstract: The discovery of high-frequency brightness oscillations in thermonuclear X-ray bursts from several neutron-star low-mass X-ray binaries has important implications for the beat frequency model of kilohertz quasi-periodic brightness oscillations, the propagation of nuclear burning, the structure of the subsurface magnetic fields in neutron stars, and the equation of state of high-density matter. These implications depend crucially on whether the observed frequency is the stellar spin frequency or its first overtone. Here we report an analysis of five bursts from 4U 1636-536 which exhibit strong oscillations at approximately 580 Hz. We show that combining the data from the first 0.75 seconds of each of the five bursts yields a signal at 290 Hz that is significant at the $4\times 10^{-5}$ level when the number of trials is taken into account. This strongly indicates that 290 Hz is the spin frequency of this neutron star and that 580 Hz is its first overtone, in agreement with other arguments about this source but in contrast to suggestions in the literature that 580 Hz is the true spin frequency. The method used here, which is an algorithm for combining time series data from the five bursts so that the phases of the 580 Hz oscillations are aligned, may be used in any source to search for weak oscillations that have frequencies related in a definite way to the frequency of a strong oscillation.
Attenuation of Beaming Oscillations Near Neutron Stars
M. Coleman Miller
Physics , 2000, DOI: 10.1086/309013
Abstract: Observations with RXTE have revealed kilohertz quasi-periodic brightness oscillations (QPOs) from nearly twenty different neutron-star low-mass X-ray binaries (LMXBs). These frequencies often appear as a pair of kilohertz QPOs in a given power density spectrum. In many models the higher-frequency of these QPOs is a beaming oscillation at the frequency of a nearly circular orbit at some radius near the neutron star. In such models it is expected that there will also be beaming oscillations at the stellar spin frequency and at overtones of the orbital frequency, but no strong QPOs have been detected at these frequencies. We therefore examine the processes that can attenuate beaming oscillations near neutron stars, and in doing so extend the work on this subject that was initiated by the discovery of lower-frequency QPOs from LMXBs. Among our main results are (1)in a spherical scattering cloud, all overtones of rotationally modulated beaming oscillations are attenuated strongly, not just the even harmonics, and (2)it is possible to have a relatively high-amplitude modulation near the star at, e.g., the stellar spin frequency, even if no peak at that frequency is detectable in a power density spectrum taken at infinity. We discuss the application of these results to modeling of kilohertz QPOs.
Beat-Frequency Models of Kilohertz QPOs
M. Coleman Miller
Physics , 2000, DOI: 10.1063/1.1434636
Abstract: Kilohertz QPO sources are reasonably well-characterized observationally, but many questions remain about the theoretical framework for these sources and the consequent implications of the observations for disk physics, strong gravity, and dense matter. We contrast the predictions and implications of the most extensively studied class of kilohertz QPO models, the beat-frequency models, with those of alternative classes of models. We also discuss the expected impact of new observations of these sources with satellites such as Chandra, XMM, and Constellation-X.
Probing General Relativity With Mergers of Supermassive and Intermediate-Mass Black Holes
M. Coleman Miller
Physics , 2004, DOI: 10.1086/425910
Abstract: Recent observations and stellar dynamics simulations suggest that thousand solar mass black holes can form in compact massive young star clusters. Any such clusters in the bulge of their host galaxy will spiral to the center within a few hundred million years, where their intermediate-mass black holes are likely to merge eventually with the galaxy's supermassive black hole. If such mergers are common, then future space-based gravitational wave detectors such as the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna will detect them with such a high signal to noise ratio that towards the end of the inspiral the orbits will be visible in a simple power density spectrum, without the need for matched filtering. We discuss the astrophysics of the inspiral of clusters in the nuclear region of a galaxy and the subsequent merger of intermediate-mass with supermassive black holes. We also examine the prospects for understanding the spacetime geometry of rotating black holes, based on phase connection of the strong signals visible near the end of these extreme mass ratio inspirals.
Disk Winds as an Explanation for Slowly Evolving Temperatures in Tidal Disruption Events
M. Coleman Miller
Physics , 2015, DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/805/1/83
Abstract: Among the many intriguing aspects of optically discovered tidal disruption events (TDEs) is that their temperatures are lower than expected and that the temperature does not evolve as rapidly with decreasing fallback rate as would be expected in standard disk theory. We show that this can be explained qualitatively using an idea proposed by Laor & Davis in the context of normal active galactic nuclei: that larger accretion rates imply stronger winds and thus that the accretion rate through the inner disk only depends weakly on the inflow rate at the outer edge of the disk. We also show that reasonable quantitative agreement with data requires that, as has been suggested in recent papers, the circularization radius of the tidal stream is approximately equal to the semimajor axis of the most bound orbit of the debris rather than twice the pericenter distance as would be expected without rapid angular momentum redistribution. If this explanation is correct, it suggests that the evolution of TDEs may test both non-standard disk theory and the details of the interactions of the tidal stream.
Astrophysical Constraints on Dense Matter in Neutron Stars
M. Coleman Miller
Physics , 2013,
Abstract: Ever since the discovery of neutron stars it has been realized that they serve as probes of a physical regime that cannot be accessed in laboratories: strongly degenerate matter at several times nuclear saturation density. Existing nuclear theories diverge widely in their predictions about such matter. It could be that the matter is primarily nucleons, but it is also possible that exotic species such as hyperons, free quarks, condensates, or strange matter may dominate this regime. Astronomical observations of cold high-density matter are necessarily indirect, which means that we must rely on measurements of quantities such as the masses and radii of neutron stars and their surface effective temperatures as a function of age. Here we review the current status of constraints from various methods and the prospects for future improvements.
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