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Public Talk — Dominic Walton
February 14, 2020 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Speaker: Dr. Dominic Walton
Title: The Discovery of Ultraluminous X-ray Pulsars
X-ray binaries are systems in which a black hole or a neutron star feeds
on material drawn from a normal stellar companion, producing copious
amounts of X-ray radiation in the process. Following a remarkable series
of discoveries, we now know that some of the most luminous X-ray binaries
seen in nearby galaxies are powered by neutron stars, despite these
objects being much less massive than their black hole counterparts. These
‘ultraluminous’ X-ray pulsars are challenging to understand, as their
extreme luminosities defy standard theories for how bright such objects
can be! I will discuss the discovery of these enigmatic systems, what we
know about them and, more critically, what we still do not know.