Appearance of innermost stable circular orbits of accretion discs around rotating neutron stars [HEAP]

The innermost stable cicular orbit (ISCO) of an accretion disc orbiting a neutron star (NS) is often assumed a unique prediction of general relativity. However, it has been argued that ISCO also appears around highly elliptic bodies described by Newtonian theory. In this sense, the behaviour of an ISCO around a rotating oblate neutron star is formed by the interplay between relativistic and Newtonian effects. Here we briefly explore the consequences of this interplay using a straightforward analytic approach as well as numerical models that involve modern NS equations of state. We examine the ratio K between the ISCO radius and the radius of the neutron star. We find that, with growing NS spin, the ratio K first decreases, but then starts to increase. This non-monotonic behaviour of K can give rise to a neutron star spin interval in which ISCO appears for two very different ranges of NS mass. This may strongly affect the distribution of neutron stars that have an ISCO (ISCO-NS). When (all) neutron stars are distributed around a high mass M0, the ISCO-NS spin distribution is roughly the same as the spin distribution corresponding to all neutron stars. In contrast, if M0 is low, the ISCO-NS distribution can only have a peak around a high value of spin. Finally, an intermediate value of M0 can imply an ISCO-NS distribution divided into two distinct groups of slow and fast rotators. Our findings have immediate astrophysical applications. They can be used for example to distinguish between different models of high-frequency quasiperiodic oscillations observed in low-mass NS X-ray binaries.

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G. Torok, M. Urbanec, K. Adamek, et. al.
Tue, 18 Mar 14