Accretion- and thermonuclear-powered neutron stars
In transiently accreting low-magnetic field neutron stars (aka "neutron star transients") the mass accretion rate may vary by as much as eight orders of magnitude.
During outbursts, up to ~100 kg of plasma plunge into each square centimeter of the neutron star surface, every second. This leads to frequent thermonuclear X-ray bursts which burn the accreted shell in just a few seconds. But, how frequent?
I will present results from multi-mission observations of thermonuclear bursts at a wide range of mass accretion rates (~1-100% of the Eddington rate), focusing on the longest and shortest burst recurrence times. Based on the latter I will argue that rotation plays an important role in how fuel is burned at the highest accretion rates.
I will also show recent work on the connection between outburst and quiescent states of neutron star transients, focusing on the transition from outburst to quiescence of a very special millisecond pulsar.