Exploring the physics of neutron stars with high-resolution, high-throughput X-ray spectroscopy

Kavli Affiliate: Herman Marshall

| First 5 Authors: Jeremy Heyl, Ilaria Caiazzo, Samar Safi-Harb, Craig Heinke, Sharon Morsink

| Summary:

The advent of moderately high-resolution X-ray spectroscopy with Chandra and
XMM promised to usher in a new age in the study of neutron stars: we thought we
would study neutron stars like stars, with resolved absorption spectra
revealing their surface chemical composition and physical conditions (e.g.
surface gravity, pressure, temperature). Nature, however, did not cooperate in
this endeavor, as observations of neutron stars have not revealed verified
atomic absorption lines yet. In the near future, advancements in
transition-edge sensors (TES) technology will allow for
electron-volt-resolution spectroscopy combined with nanoseconds-precision
timing. Combining these detectors with collector optics will also us to study
neutron stars in much greater detail by achieving high-energy resolution with
much larger collecting areas to uncover even weak spectral features over a wide
range of the photon energies. Perhaps we will finally be able to study neutron
stars like stars.

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