Astrophys. J., 603, 265-282 (2004/March-1)
Bare quark stars or naked neutron stars? the case of RX J1856.5-3754.
TUROLLA R., ZANE S. and DRAKE J.J.
Abstract (from CDS):
In a cool neutron star (T≲106 K) endowed with a rather high magnetic field (B≳1013 G), a phase transition may occur in the outermost layers. As a consequence, the neutron star becomes ``bare'', i.e., no gaseous atmosphere sits on the top of the crust. The surface of a cooling, bare neutron star does not necessarily emit a blackbody spectrum because the emissivity is strongly suppressed at energies below the electron plasma frequency, ω_p_. Since ωp~1 keV under the conditions typical of the dense electron gas in the condensate, the emission from a T∼100 eV bare neutron star will be substantially depressed with respect to that of a perfect Planckian radiator at most energies. Here we present a detailed analysis of the emission properties of a bare neutron star. In particular, we derive the surface emissivity for an Fe composition in a range of magnetic fields and temperatures representative of cooling isolated neutron stars, like RX J1856.5-3754. We find that the emitted spectrum is strongly dependent on the electron conductivity in the solid surface layers. In the cold electron gas approximation (no electron-lattice interactions), the spectrum turns out to be a featureless depressed blackbody in the 0.1-2 keV band with a steeper low-energy distribution. When damping effects due to collisions between electrons and the ion lattice (mainly due to electron-phonon interactions) are accounted for, the spectrum is more depressed at low energies and spectral features may be present, depending on the magnetic field strength. Details of the emitted spectrum are found, however, to be strongly dependent on the assumed treatment of the transition from the external vacuum to the metallic surface. The implications of our results for RX J1856.5-3754 and other isolated neutron stars are discussed.
Radiative Transfer - Stars: Individual: Alphanumeric: RX J0720.4-3125 - Stars: Individual: Alphanumeric: RX J1856.5-3754 - Stars: Neutron - X-Rays: Stars
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