Volume 451, Number 3, June I 2006
|Page(s)||1009 - 1024|
|Section||Stellar structure and evolution|
|Published online||04 May 2006|
Anisotropic thermal emission from magnetized neutron stars
Departament de Física Aplicada, Universitat d'Alacant, Ap. Correus 99, 03080 Alacant, Spain e-mail: Jose.A.Pons@uv.es
Accepted: 17 January 2006
Context.The thermal emission from isolated neutron stars is not well understood. The X-ray spectrum is very close to a blackbody but there is a systematic optical excess flux with respect to the extrapolation to low energy of the best blackbody fit. This fact, in combination with the observed pulsations in the X-ray flux, can be explained by anisotropies in the surface temperature distribution.
Aims.We study the thermal emission from neutron stars with strong magnetic fields G in order to explain the origin of the anisotropy.
Methods.We find (numerically) stationary solutions in axial symmetry of the heat transport equations in the neutron star crust and the condensed envelope. The anisotropy in the conductivity tensor is included consistently.
Results.The presence of magnetic fields of the expected strength leads to anisotropy in the surface temperature. Models with toroidal components similar to or larger than the poloidal field reproduce qualitatively the observed spectral properties and variability of isolated neutron stars. Our models also predict spectral features at energies between 0.2 and 0.6 keV for .
Key words: stars: neutron / stars: magnetic fields / radiation mechanisms: thermal
© ESO, 2006
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