AAS 206th Meeting, 29 May - 2 June 2005
Session 17 Fundamental Physics with Millisecond Pulsars
Special Session, Monday, 10:00-11:30am, May 30, 2005, 102 C

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[17.03] Open Questions in the Formation and Evolution of Ultracompact Binaries

C. Deloye (Northwestern Univ.)

The detection over recent years of accreting millisecond X-ray pulsars has provided a clear observational link between low-mass X-ray binaries (LMXBs) and millisecond pulsars (MSPs). Half of the known accreting MSPs have been identified as class members of the very short orbital period (Porb <60 min) ultracompact binaries (UCBs). Strong circumstantial evidence from the population of very bright, extragalactic LMXBs also points to UCBs playing an important role in the formation of MSPs. Here I will review what current theory allows us to infer concerning the properties of observed ultracompact LMXBs, focusing on the accreting MSPs and highlighting the impact of the free parameters in this problem. Then I'll turn to discuss several of the many open questions regarding the formation and evolution of ultracompact LMXBs. Here I plan to focus on how better understanding UCBs can inform our understanding of or have an impact on fields as diverse as close stellar binary evolution, dynamics of dense stellar enviroments, gravity wave detection, and, of course, the evolutionary connection between LMXBs and both binary and isolated MSPs.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: cjdeloye@northwestern.edu

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