Surface emission from neutron stars and implications for the physics of their interiors

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Abstract

Neutron stars are associated with diverse physical phenomena that take place in conditions characterized by ultrahigh densities as well as intense gravitational, magnetic and radiation fields. Understanding the properties and interactions of matter in these regimes remains one of the challenges in compact object astrophysics. Photons emitted from the surfaces of neutron stars provide direct probes of their structure, composition and magnetic fields. In this review, I discuss in detail the physics that governs the properties of emission from the surfaces of neutron stars and their various observational manifestations. I present the constraints on neutron star radii, core and crust composition, and magnetic field strength and topology obtained from studies of their broadband spectra, evolution of thermal luminosity, and the profiles of pulsations that originate on their surfaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalReports on Progress in Physics
Volume76
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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