Neutron star pulse profile observations as extreme gravity probes

Hector O. Silva, Nicolás Yunes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The x-ray emission of hot spots on the surface of neutron stars is the prime target of the Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER). These x-ray pulse profiles not only encode information of the bulk properties of these stars, which teaches us about matter at supranuclear densities, but also about the spacetime curvature around them which teaches us about relativistic gravity. We explore the possibility of performing strong-gravity tests with NICER observations using a recently developed pulse profile model beyond general relativity. Our results suggest that NICER can in principle place constraints on deviations from general relativity due to an additional scalar degree of freedom which are independent and competitive relative to constraints with binary pulsar observations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number17LT01
JournalClassical and Quantum Gravity
Issue number17
StatePublished - Aug 8 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • experimental relativity
  • neutron stars
  • scalar-Tensor gravity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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