X-ray Space Telescope Observations of Accretion in Binary StarsAccretion is a fundamental process in astrophysics. It is responsible for forming some of the most common objects in the Universe, stars and planets, and also for powering the most luminous objects, quasars. Much of our knowledge of the accretion process is derived from observations of interacting binary stars, where typically a white dwarf is accreting material lost from a main sequence companion star. In these objects we can use the properties of the binary star system to unravel the accretion process. For instance, using eclipses to map out the flow of accreting material.
This field has now been revolutionised by the capabilities of NASA's Chandra and ESA's XMM-Newton space telescopes, which allow us to study the X-ray emission from the hottest regions of these objects in exquisite detail. Several opportunities exist for PhD projects that will use these space telescopes to study the accretion process, thereby improving our understanding of stars, planets and quasars. Supervisor: Peter Wheatley
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XMM-Newton X-ray Space Telescope (ESA)