Hubble Space Telescope Nondetection of PSR J2144-3933: The Coldest Known Neutron Star

Sebastien Guillot, George G. Pavlov, Cristobal Reyes, Andreas Reisenegger, Luis E. Rodriguez, Blagoy Rangelov, Oleg Kargaltsev

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33 Scopus citations


We report nondetections of the ∼3 ×10 8 yr old, slow, isolated, rotation-powered pulsar PSR J2144-3933 in observations with the Hubble Space Telescope in one optical band (F475X) and two far-ultraviolet bands (F125LP and F140LP), yielding upper bounds F F475X < 22.7 nJy, F F125LP < 5.9 nJy, and F F140LP < 19.5 nJy and at the pivot wavelengths 4940 Å, 1438 Å and 1528 Å, respectively. Assuming a blackbody spectrum, we deduce a conservative upper bound on the surface (unredshifted) temperature of the pulsar of 42,000 K. This makes PSR J2144-3933 the coldest known neutron star, allowing us to study thermal evolution models of old neutron stars. This temperature is consistent with models with either direct or modified Urca reactions including rotochemical heating, and, considering frictional heating from the motion of neutron vortex lines, it puts an upper bound on the excess angular momentum in the neutron superfluid, J < 10 44 erg s.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number175
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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