, Volume 74, Issue 3-4, pp 427-436

Urca processes in dense matter and neutron star cooling

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Abstract

Urca-processes were introduced into astrophysics by Gamow and Schoenberg in 1941. Neutrino cooling resulting from urca-processes plays an important role at the latest stages of evolution of massive stars. Recent work on neutrino emissivity of dense matter shows that neutrino cooling via urca-processes could determine the thermal evolution of young neutron stars and depends dramatically on the composition of the neutron star core. In particular, if a neutron star contains a central core in which the “direct urca-process” is operative, the cooling timescale shortens by many orders of magnitude.