Vol. 638
1. Letters

Unexpected late-time temperature increase observed in the two neutron star crust-cooling sources XTE J1701-462 and EXO 0748-676

by A. S. Parikh, R. Wijnands, J. Homan, et al., 2020, A&A, 638, L2

During an X-ray outburst, a transient neutron star accretes matter which then heats the crust. After the outburst has ended, the neutron star cools, providing invaluable insights into the properties of the crust. Without further sources of heat, the compact object is expected to continue to cool. This simple physical picture is challenged by the observations presented in this Letter, in which a late time rise in temperature has been observed in two transient systems years after the outburst ended. As the authors have stated, this rise in temperature is unexplained. Further studies should lead to a deeper understanding of the dense matter physics.