Title: Probing fundamental physics with cooling of accretion-heated neutron stars
Speaker: Nathalie Degenaar (University of Cambridge)
Date/Time: October 14, 2015, Wednesday at 13:40
Place: Sabancı University, FENS G029
Neutron stars are the densest directly observable stellar objects in our universe and serve as astrophysical laboratories to study matter under extreme physical conditions. The composition and structure of their ~1 km thick, solid crust is responsible for many observable properties of neutron stars, and plays a fundamental role in the emission of gravitational waves and the evolution of the stellar magnetic field. When residing in X-ray binaries, a neutron star accretes gas from a companion star. This induces a series of nuclear reactions that deposit heat throughout the crust of the neutron star. Once accretion switches off, sensitive X-ray satellites can be used to observe how the heated crust cools down. Comparison with theoretical simulations then provides very valuable insight into the structure and composition of the crust, as well as the nuclear reactions that occur inside neutron stars. I will present the latest results and challenges in this research field.
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