Measuring the Mass-Radius Relation of Neutron Stars with the Large Observatory for X-ray Timing (LOFT)

Mar 28, 2014, 3:00 PM


Prof. Luigi Stella (INAF - OAR)


High-time-resolution and spectroscopic X-ray observations of compact objects provide access to strong-field gravity, the equation of state of ultra-dense matter and black hole masses and spins. A 10 m^2-class instrument in combination with good energy resolution is required to exploit diagnostics and answer two of the fundamental questions of the European Space Agency (ESA) Cosmic Vision Theme "Matter under extreme conditions", namely: does matter orbiting close to the event horizon follow the predictions of general relativity? What is the equation of state of matter in neutron stars? The Large Observatory For X-ray Timing (LOFT) has been designed to answer these questions; it has been extensively studied in the last 3 years and will be proposed to ESA in response to the forthcoming M4 call. The Large Area Detector (LAD) on board LOFT will have an effective area of ~10 m^2 (more than an order of magnitude larger than any spaceborne predecessor) in the 2-30 keV range, coupled with a CCD-class spectral resolution of ~240 eV (providing a two orders of magnitude higher throughput than any previous instrument solid state instrument). The LAD will yield unprecedented information on the mass-radius relation of neutron stars and on strongly curved spacetimes.

Primary author

Prof. Luigi Stella (INAF - OAR)

Presentation materials