Measuring the orbital periods of low mass X-ray binaries in the X-ray band

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A low mass X-ray binary (LMXB) contains either a neutron star or a black hole accreting materials from its low mass companion star. It is one of the primary astrophysical sources for studying stellar-mass compact objects and accreting phenomena. As with other binary systems, the most important parameter of an LMXB is the orbital period, which allows us to learn about the nature of the binary system and constrain the properties of the system's components, including the compact object. As a result, measuring the orbital periods of LMXBs is essential for investigating these systems even though fewer than half of them have known orbital periods. This article introduces the different methods for measuring the orbital periods in the X-ray band and reviews their application to various types of LMXBs, such as eclipsing and dipping sources, as well as pulsar LMXBs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1367-1382
Number of pages16
JournalResearch in Astronomy and Astrophysics
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2014


  • binaries: close
  • methods: data analysis
  • X-rays: binaries


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