Volcano Theory of Pulsars


IT has recently become clear1 that at least some white dwarfs are likely to have convective envelopes. Neutron star models2 are generally similar to white dwarf models, so it is possible that neutron stars will also have superadiabatic temperature gradients in their outer layers. Convection in the ordinary sense cannot occur in neutron star envelopes, however, because these envelopes are solid3. How will heat be transported through a solid mantle of a neutron star which is convectively unstable? It seems reasonable to expect that one or more weak points will develop through which liquid material from the core will pour out to the surface. In other words, energy will be transported by volcanoes.

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DYSON, F. Volcano Theory of Pulsars. Nature 223, 486–487 (1969). https://doi.org/10.1038/223486a0

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