Symposium S10  29 – 30 June 2017

Properties and evolution of accreting compact objects in low and high mass X-ray binaries

Aims and scope

X-ray binaries (XRBs), either harboring a stellar-mass black hole or a neutron star, can be among the brightest sources in the X-ray sky and display variability spanning all humanly accessible time-scales, down to fractions of a second. Thanks to these characteristics, XRBs are ideal laboratories where to test the properties of matter in extreme conditions that cannot be reproduced on Earth. The knowledge that can be achieved by studying these objects is of high interest not only for Astrophysics, but to many branches of fundamental research.

Matter orbiting a few kilometers from a collapsed object provides a unique set of test particles which can probe General Relativity in the strong field regime, if realistic accretion models are employed. Nowadays, the developed models already include a large number of physical processes, related to the presence of magnetic fields in the accretion disks, the presence of non-axisymmetric waves and shocks, and jets. The observed properties of fast rotating neutron stars can give us constraints to the elusive equation of state of matter at supra-nuclear densities, once the physics of the accretion flow has been adequately well took into account. In high mass X-ray binaries, the compact objects orbiting around a massive companion (typically an O-B supergiant, a Wolf-Rayet star, or a Be star) give the opportunity to probe the properties of the powerful mass losses from the stars, either in the form of a decretion disk or a stellar wind. A correct knowledge of mass loss from massive stars is needed to address a number of fundamental questions in Astrophysics, spanning from the evolution of galaxies to the re-ionization of the Universe after the Big Bang. The currently favored evolutionary channels for GW progenitors pass through the massive X-ray binary stage, but low mass X-ray binaries are also known to be the site for GW emissions.

Coordinated multi-wavelength observations, taking advantages of the wide range of the latest generation facilities covering the entire electromagnetic spectrum, have been already proved critical in order to efficiently probe the properties of different radiation emission sites in X-ray binaries and the physical mechanisms at play in these systems. In the coming decades, the gravitational wave (GW) detectors are expected to open new discovery windows on these objects.

This symposium is entirely dedicated to X-ray Binaries, covering the different aspects of their emissions and evolutions through which we can assess the physics of matter under extreme conditions and the potential of these sources as GW emitters/progenitors. The symposium will focus on the recent progress that we have made in the knowledge of the physics of compact objects and the perspectives offered by the new generation of instrumentation already available or that will be available to the Astrophysical community in the coming future.


  • Spectra and timing of BH X-ray binaries
  • Spectra and timing of NS X-ray binaries
  • Accretion disks and winds, theory and simulations
  • Evolutionary paths of massive binaries and GW progenitors
  • Evolutionary paths and GW emission from low mass X-ray binaries
  • Prospects in the research of X-ray binaries with future missions/facilities

Invited speakers

  • Tomaso Belloni (INAF-OA Brera, Italy)
  • Victoria Grinberg (ESA/ESTEC, Netherlands)
  • Mariano Mendez (Univ. of Groningen, Netherlands)
  • Felix Fuerst (ESA/ESAC, Spain)
  • Shane Davis (Univ. of Virginia, United States)
  • John Blondin (NC State Univ., United States)
  • Danny Van Beveren (Brussels Univ., Belgium)
  • Thomas Tauris (Univ. of Bonn, Germany)
  • Joern Wilms (ECAP, Germany)

Scientific organisers
Andrea Sanna (co-chair), Enrico Bozzo (co-chair), Agnieszka Janiuk (co-chair), Andrzej Zdziarski, Sara Motta, Alessandro Riggio, Teo Munoz-Darias, Julien Malzac, Guillaume Dubus, Peter Kretschmar, Lara Sidoli, Carlo Ferrigno, José Miguel Torrejón, Lida Oskinova, Jiri Krticka

andrea.sanna @, enrico.bozzo @, agnes @

Updated on Mon Mar 13 08:10:27 CET 2017