Testing general metric theories of gravity with bursting neutron stars

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12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

I show that several observable properties of bursting neutron stars in metric theories of gravity can be calculated using only conservation laws, Killing symmetries, and the Einstein equivalence principle, without requiring the validity of the general relativistic field equations. I calculate, in particular, the gravitational redshift of a surface atomic line, the touchdown luminosity of a radius-expansion burst, which is believed to be equal to the Eddington critical luminosity, and the apparent surface area of a neutron star as measured during the cooling tails of bursts. I show that, for a general metric theory of gravity, the apparent surface area of a neutron star depends on the coordinate radius of the stellar surface and on its gravitational redshift in the exact same way as in general relativity. On the other hand, the Eddington critical luminosity depends also on an additional parameter that measures the degree to which the general relativistic field equations are satisfied. These results can be used in conjunction with current and future high-energy observations of bursting neutron stars to test general relativity in the strong-field regime.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number064006
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Volume77
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 10 2008

Fingerprint

Bursting
Neutron Stars
neutron stars
Gravity
gravitation
Metric
Testing
luminosity
Surface area
General Relativity
Burst
relativity
bursts
Radius
touchdown
Equivalence Principle
radii
conservation laws
Conservation Laws
Albert Einstein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Mathematical Physics

Cite this

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abstract = "I show that several observable properties of bursting neutron stars in metric theories of gravity can be calculated using only conservation laws, Killing symmetries, and the Einstein equivalence principle, without requiring the validity of the general relativistic field equations. I calculate, in particular, the gravitational redshift of a surface atomic line, the touchdown luminosity of a radius-expansion burst, which is believed to be equal to the Eddington critical luminosity, and the apparent surface area of a neutron star as measured during the cooling tails of bursts. I show that, for a general metric theory of gravity, the apparent surface area of a neutron star depends on the coordinate radius of the stellar surface and on its gravitational redshift in the exact same way as in general relativity. On the other hand, the Eddington critical luminosity depends also on an additional parameter that measures the degree to which the general relativistic field equations are satisfied. These results can be used in conjunction with current and future high-energy observations of bursting neutron stars to test general relativity in the strong-field regime.",
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