NICER / ISS Science Nugget
for March 5, 2020
NICER results on PSR J0030+0451 prompt further studies
NICER's first results on the pulsar PSR J0030+0451 (J0030, for short),
released in December 2019, have triggered additional research leading to
new publications in fields ranging from the "equation of state" of
ultra-dense matter within neutron stars, to the complexity of their
A paper by Chen et
recently submitted for publication in Astrophysical Journal Letters
used NICER's results for the
hot-spot distribution on the surface of J0030 to precisely model the
star's magnetic field structure in a way that previously was not
possible (see figure).
A 3D-rendered model, from Chen et al., of pulsar J0030's magnetosphere
based on the locations, sizes, and shapes of surface hot-spots derived
from analysis of NICER data. Green and cyan lines are closed and open
magnetic-field lines, respectively. The red-green volume rendering shows
the 3D electric current sheet.
The progress that NICER is enabling toward
answering decades-old questions about neutron stars prompted a feature
story in this week's issue of Nature magazine, titled "The golden age of
neutron-star physics has arrived".