The Great Wall: Urca Cooling Layers in the Accreted NS Crust

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2018. Accreting neutron stars host a number of astronomical observables which can be used to infer the properties of the underlying dense matter. These observables are sensitive to the heating and cooling processes taking place in the accreted neutron star (NS) crust. Within the past few years it has become apparent that electron-capture/beta-decay (urca) cycles can operate within the NS crust at high temperatures. Layers of nuclei undergoing urca cycling can create a thermal barrier, or Great Wall, between heating occurring deep in the crust and the regions above the urca layers. This paper briefly reviews the urca process and the implications for observables from accreting neutron stars.