Order-of-magnitude physics of neutron stars

Estimating their properties from first principles
  • Andreas ReiseneggerEmail author
  • Felipe S. Zepeda
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Exotic Matter in Neutron Stars


We use basic physics and simple mathematics accessible to advanced undergraduate students to estimate the main properties of neutron stars. We set the stage and introduce relevant concepts by discussing the properties of “everyday” matter on Earth, degenerate Fermi gases, white dwarfs, and scaling relations of stellar properties with polytropic equations of state. Then, we discuss various physical ingredients relevant for neutron stars and how they can be combined in order to obtain a couple of different simple estimates of their maximum mass, beyond which they would collapse, turning into black holes. Finally, we use the basic structural parameters of neutron stars to briefly discuss their rotational and electromagnetic properties.


Black Hole Neutron Star Newtonian Gravity Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle Light Cylinder 
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Copyright information

© SIF, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto de Astrofísica, Facultad de FísicaPontificia Universidad Católica de ChileMaculChile

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