Here we present an integration of the state of the art in the modelling of the thermal emission from magnetized neutron stars with a detailed calculation of the propagation of the radiation through the neutron star magnetosphere including both relativistic and quantumelectrodynamic effects. We find, counter to previous predictions, that the thermal radiation of NSs should be highly polarized even in the optical. When detected, this polarization will be the first demonstration of vacuum birefringence. It could be used as a tool to prove the high magnetic field nature of AXPs and it could also be used to constrain physical NS parameters, such as R/M, to which the net polarization is sensitive.
AAS/High Energy Astrophysics Division #7
- Pub Date:
- March 2003