CfA Colloquium Schedule Spring 2012
 24 May 2012

24 May 2012

Speaker: Craig Heinke (U. Alberta)

Title:Evidence for Neutron Superfluidity in Neutron Star Cores

Abstract:The behavior of matter at the high densities of neutron stars is not well understood. X-ray observations of hot young neutron stars are one method of probing the physics of neutron stars. I will discuss X-ray observations of some young neutron stars, focusing on the youngest known neutron star, in Cassiopeia A. Our team proposed that its unusual X-ray properties are naturally explained by a carbon atmosphere, and discovered that its surface is measurably cooling with time. The observed rate of cooling, and its current temperature, require a rapid, short-lived transition in the neutron star's interior. Our proposed explanation is that the neutrons in the core are undergoing a transition to a superfluid state, radiating away their heat via neutrinos as the neutrons pair up.


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