EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 396, Number 3, December IV 2002
Page(s) 917 - 921
Section Formation, structure and evolution of stars
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20021241

A&A 396, 917-921 (2002)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20021241

Moments of inertia for neutron and strange stars: Limits derived for the Crab pulsar

M. Bejger and P. Haensel

N. Copernicus Astronomical Center, Polish Academy of Sciences, Bartycka 18, 00-716 Warszawa, Poland
    e-mail: haensel@camk.edu.pl
(Received 28 March 2002 / Accepted 1 October 2002)

Recent estimates of the properties of the Crab nebula are used to derive constraints on the moment of inertia, mass and radius of the pulsar. To this purpose, we employ an approximate formula combining these three parameters. Our "empirical formula" $I\simeq a(x) M R^2$, where $x=(M/M_\odot) ({\rm km}/R)$, is based on numerical results obtained for thirty theoretical equations of state of dense matter. The functions a(x) for neutron stars and strange stars are qualitatively different. For neutron stars $a_{\rm NS}(x)=x/(0.1+2x)$ for $x\le 0.1$ (valid for $M>0.2~M_\odot$) and $a_{\rm NS}(x)={2\over 9}(1+5x)$ for x>0.1. For strange stars $a_{\rm SS}(x)={2\over 5}(1+x)$ (not valid for strange stars with crust and $M<0.1~M_\odot$). We obtain also an approximate expression for the maximum moment of inertia $I_{\rm max,45}\simeq
(-0.37 + 7.12\cdot x_{\rm max})
(M_{\rm max}/M_\odot)(R_{M_{\rm max}}/{10~{\rm km}})^2$ , where $I_{\rm 45} = I/10^{45}~{\rm g\cdot cm^2}$, valid for both neutron stars and strange stars. Applying our formulae to the evaluated values of $I_{\rm Crab}$, we derive constraints on the mass and radius of the pulsar. A very conservative evaluation of the expanding nebula mass, $M_{\rm neb}=2~M_{\odot}$, yields $M_{\rm Crab}>1.2~M_{\odot}$ and $R_{\rm Crab}=$ 10-14  ${\rm km}$. Setting the most recent evaluation ("central value") $M_{\rm neb}=4.6~M_{\odot}$ rules out most of the existing equations of state, leaving only the stiffest ones: $M_{\rm Crab}>1.9~M_{\odot}$, $R_{\rm Crab}=$ 14-15  ${\rm km}$.

Key words: dense matter -- equation of state -- stars: neutron

Offprint request: M. Bejger, bejger@camk.edu.pl

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