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P4: Isolated Neutron Stars


Since the discovery of the first radio pulsar fifty years ago, the population of isolated neutron stars (INSs) in our Galaxy has grown to 2800, out of which a few percent are exclusively seen in X-rays. Despite their scarcity, the X-ray emitting INSs are the key to understanding aspects of neutron star phenomenology and evolution not observed in normal pulsars. The eROSITA all-sky survey will unveil the X-ray faint end of the population of INSs, as it provides a significantly deeper view of the sky than its predecessor ROSAT.

In the first funding period of eRO-STEP (2021-2024), we have identified the first X-ray emitting INSs and set up a comprehensive follow-up program at X-ray and optical wavelengths (including an XMM-Newton Large Programme). In the second funding period (2024-2027), we are putting a focus on completing the sample and analyzing the population. With eRASS, we will study the X-ray faint end of the population and will be able to constrain evolutionary models and advance the understanding of the NS population as a whole.

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