The Oblate Schwarzschild Approximation for Light Curves of Rapidly Rotating Neutron Stars

Sharon M. Morsink, Denis A. Leahy, Coire Cadeau, John Braga
2007 Astrophysical Journal  
We present a simple method for including the oblateness of a rapidly rotating neutron star when fitting X-ray light curves. In previous work we showed that the oblateness induced by rotation at frequencies above 300 Hz produces a geometric effect which needs to be accounted for when modelling light curves to extract constraints on the neutron star's mass and radius. In our model X-rays are emitted from the surface of an oblate neutron star and propagate to the observer along geodesics of the
more » ... geodesics of the Schwarzschild metric for a spherical neutron star. Doppler effects due to rotation are added in the same manner as in the case of a spherical neutron star. We show that this model captures the most important effects due to the neutron star's rotation. We also explain how the geometric oblateness effect can rival the Doppler effect for some emission geometries.
doi:10.1086/518648 fatcat:j6txgwezang4fnwv3gpmx77pbe