New Constraints on the Nuclear Equation of State from the Thermal Emission of Neutron Stars in Quiescent Lowmass XRay Binaries
Abstract
This paper presents a new analysis of the thermal emission from the neutron star (NS) surface to constrain the dense matter equation of state. We employ an empirical parameterization of the equation of state with a Markov Chain Monte Carlo approach to consistently fit the spectra of quiescent lowmass Xray binaries in globular clusters with wellmeasured distances. Despite previous analyses predicting low NS radii, we show that it is possible to reconcile the astrophysical data with nuclear physics knowledge with or without including a prior on the slope of the symmetry energy L _{sym}. With this empirical parameterization of the equation of state, we obtain radii of the order of about 12 km without worsening the fit statistic. More importantly, we obtain the following values for the slope of the symmetry energy, its curvature K _{sym}, and the isoscalar skewness parameter Q _{sat}: {L}_{sym}}={37.2}_{8.9}^{+9.2} MeV, {K}_{sym}}={85}_{70}^{+82} MeV, and {Q}_{sat}}={318}_{366}^{+673} MeV. These are the first measurements of the empirical parameters K _{sym} and Q _{sat}. Their values are only weakly impacted by our assumptions, such as the distances or the number of free empirical parameters, provided the latter are taken within a reasonable range. We also study the weak sensitivity of our results to the set of sources analyzed, and we identify a group of sources that dominates the constraints. The resulting masses and radii obtained from this empirical parameterization are also compared to other measurements from electromagnetic observations of NSs and gravitational wave signals from the NSNS merger GW170817.
 Publication:

The Astrophysical Journal
 Pub Date:
 December 2019
 DOI:
 10.3847/15384357/ab4f6c
 arXiv:
 arXiv:1905.01081
 Bibcode:
 2019ApJ...887...48B
 Keywords:

 Nuclear physics;
 Lowmass Xray binary stars;
 Neutron stars;
 2077;
 939;
 1108;
 Astrophysics  High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena
 EPrint:
 Accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal