Pulsar glitches: The crust may be enough
Abstract
Background: Pulsar glitches—the sudden spinup in the rotational frequency of a neutron star—suggest the existence of an angularmomentum reservoir confined to the inner crust of the neutron star. Large and regular glitches observed in the Vela pulsar have originally constrained the fraction of the stellar moment of inertia that must reside in the solid crust to about 1.4%. However, crustal entrainment—which until very recently has been ignored—suggests that in order to account for the Vela glitches, the fraction of the moment of inertia residing in the crust must increase significantly; to about 79 %. This indicates that the required angular momentum reservoir may exceed that which is available in the crust.
Purpose: We explore the possibility that uncertainties in the equation of state provide enough flexibility for the construction of models that predict a large crustal thickness and consequently a large crustal moment of inertia.
Methods: Moments of inertia—both total and crustal—are computed in the slowrotation approximation using a relativistic meanfield formalism to generate the equation of state of neutronstar matter.
Results: We compute the fractional moment of inertia of neutron stars of various masses using a representative set of relativistic meanfield models. Given that analytic results suggest that the crustal moment of inertia is sensitive to the transition pressure at the crustcore interface, we tune the parameters of the model to maximize the transition pressure, while still providing an excellent description of nuclear observables. In this manner we are able to obtain fractional moments of inertia as large as 7% for neutron stars with masses below 1.6 solar masses.
Conclusions: We find that uncertainties in the equation of state of neutronrich matter are large enough to accommodate theoretical models that predict large crustal moments of inertia. In particular, we find that if the neutronskin thickness of Pb208 falls within the (0.200.26) fm range, large enough transition pressures can be generated to explain the large Vela glitches—without invoking an additional angularmomentum reservoir beyond that confined to the solid crust. Our results suggest that the crust may be enough.
 Publication:

Physical Review C
 Pub Date:
 July 2014
 DOI:
 10.1103/PhysRevC.90.015803
 arXiv:
 arXiv:1404.2660
 Bibcode:
 2014PhRvC..90a5803P
 Keywords:

 97.60.Jd;
 26.60.Kp;
 26.60.Gj;
 21.65.Ef;
 Neutron stars;
 Equations of state of neutronstar matter;
 Neutron star crust;
 Symmetry energy;
 Nuclear Theory;
 Astrophysics  Solar and Stellar Astrophysics;
 Nuclear Experiment
 EPrint:
 14 pages, 5 figures, and 4 tables