Constraints on the maximum mass of neutron stars with a quark core from GW170817 and NICER PSR J0030+0451 data

Ang Li, Zhiqiang Miao, Sophia Han, Bing Zhang.


We perform a Bayesian analysis of the maximum mass M_{\rm TOV} of neutron stars with a quark core, incorporating the observational data from tidal deformability of the GW170817 binary neutron star merger as detected by LIGO/Virgo and the mass and radius of PSR J0030+0451 as detected by \nicer. The analysis is performed under the assumption that the hadron-quark phase transition is of first order, where the low-density hadronic matter described in a unified manner by the soft QMF or the stiff DD2 equation of state (EOS) transforms into a high-density phase of quark matter modeled by the generic “Constant-sound-speed” (CSS) parameterization. The mass distribution measured for the 2.14 \,{\rm M}_{\odot} pulsar, MSP J0740+6620, is used as the lower limit on M{\rm TOV}. We find the most probable values of the hybrid star maximum mass are M_{\rm TOV}=2.36^{+0.49}_{-0.26}\,{\rm M}{\odot} (2.39^{+0.47}_{-0.28}\,{\rm M}_{\odot}) for QMF (DD2), with an absolute upper bound around 2.85\,{\rm M}_{\odot}, to the 90% posterior credible level. Such results appear robust with respect to the uncertainties in the hadronic EOS. We also discuss astrophysical implications of this result, especially on the post-merger product of GW170817, short gamma-ray bursts, and other likely binary neutron star mergers.

Associated Fellows