Back to Volume
Paper: Thermal Evolution of Neutron Stars: Current Status
Volume: 451, 9th Pacific Rim Conference on Stellar Astrophysics
Page: 239
Authors: Tsuruta, S.
Abstract: Since the first detection of thermal radiation directly from the stellar surface of four pulsars by ROSAT, number of neutron stars with detected thermal radiation has increased significantly. By carefully analyzing the data and comparing the results with thermal evolution theories, we now have realistic hope for exploring the composition of ultrahigh density matter. Currently, the data of Vela pulsar already suggest that the core of high mass neutron stars should include such exotic particles as hyperons and/or pion condensates. However, to confirm such possibilities, more such data for more pulsars are badly needed. Fortunately, it was found recently that soft X-ray transients (SXT) in low-mass X-ray binaries (LMXB) can provide additional such extra data when they are in quiescence. These data helped us better understand the composition of neutron star crusts and atmospheres also. From careful analysis of the very recent data from very long Chandra observations of the neutron star in Cassiopeia A (Cas A) supernova remnant, its temperature, not just the upper limit, was determined. Moreover, further analysis of its archival data from observations over long period of time (∼ 10 years), has led to the striking finding that this neutron star is cooling rapidly. Its implication could help us reach deeper insight to the nature of neutron stars. We will summarize these developments, and emphasize those future observatories such as ASTRO-H will mean breakthroughs in this exciting area.
Back to Volume