Observing Neutron Stars with X-ray Telescopes to Constrain the Behavior of Matter at the Highest Densities
Neutron stars are the dense remnants of massive stars that have gone supernova (and somehow avoided collapsing down into a black hole). Their central density and pressure are higher than can be probed on the Earth. This makes studies of neutron stars an excellent probe of the behavior of matter at high densities. I will discuss two methods by which X-ray observations can constrain the interior structure and composition of neutron stars; constraints on the sizes of neutron stars from measuring the surface temperature, and constraints on the nature of neutron star cores by observing cooling neutron stars.