Articles written in Journal of Astrophysics and Astronomy
Volume 38 Issue 3 September 2017 Article ID 0049 Review Article
Cooling of Accretion-Heated Neutron Stars
Rudy Wijnands Nathalie Degenaar Dany Page
We present a brief, observational review about the study of the cooling behaviour of accretion-heated neutron stars and the inferences about the neutron-star crust and core that have been obtained from these studies. Accretion of matter during outbursts can heat the crust out of thermal equilibrium with the core and after the accretion episodes are over, the crust will cool down until crust-core equilibrium is restored. We discuss the observed properties of the crust cooling sources and what has been learned about the physics of neutron-star crusts. We also briefly discuss those systems that have been observed long after their outbursts were over, i.e, during times when the crust and core are expected to be in thermal equilibrium. The surface temperature is then a direct probe for the core temperature. By comparing the expected temperatures based on estimates of the accretion history of the targets with the observed ones, the physics of neutron-star cores can be investigated. Finally, we discuss similar studies performed for strongly magnetized neutron stars in which the magnetic field might play an important role in the heating and cooling of the neutron stars.
Volume 44, 2023
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