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Neutron stars at the crossroads

We have witnessed in the last five years the convergence of two fields of astrophysics born half a century ago: the study of neutron stars powered by their rotational energy, and the study of accreting compact objects in X-ray binaries. Recent discoveries have confirmed the evolutionary link between millisecond radio pulsars (MRPs) and low-mass X-ray binaries (LMXBs), and have opened a new era where the “metamorphosis” of a neutron star from a rotation- to an accretion-powered state (and vice versa) can be directly observed.

This EWASS 2015 symposium will gather researchers from the fields of neutron stars, accretion physics, radio pulsars and X-ray binaries in order to discuss and compare the properties of MRPs and LMXBs, with a special focus on transitional millisecond pulsars and quiescent LMXBs. We can now explore the impact of these new discoveries on binary, magnetic field and spin evolution, as well as study the interaction between accretion flows, neutron star magnetospheres and pulsar winds in regimes never accessible before.

Topics to be discussed:

  • Radio timing properties of millisecond pulsars. Redback and black widow pulsars. Spin and orbital parameters. Radio “eclipses”.
  • Optical studies of compact object binaries: X-ray binaries and binary millisecond pulsars. Neutron star mass measurements. Dynamical measurements and light curve modelling.
  • Accreting millisecond X-ray pulsars. Neutron star transients between outburst and quiescence. Underluminous accretion flows.
  • Gamma-ray observations of isolated and transitional pulsars. Models for gamma-ray emission.
  • Disk-magnetosphere interaction. Pulsar wind shocks. Three states of redback millisecond pulsars with a varying spectral energy distribution.
  • Binary evolution; millisecond pulsar formation; neutron star recycling. Double neutron star mergers and gravitational wave prospects.
  • Outlook: neutron stars and transitional pulsars with present and future facilities. Observational and theoretical challenges.