Towards strong field tests of beyond Horndeski gravity theories

Jeremy Sakstein, Eugeny Babichev, Kazuya Koyama, David Langlois, Ryo Saito

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Theories of gravity in the beyond Horndeski class encompass a wide range of scalar-tensor theories that will be tested on cosmological scales over the coming decade. In this work, we investigate the possibility of testing them in the strong-field regime by looking at the properties of compact objects-neutron, hyperon, and quark stars-embedded in an asymptotically de Sitter space-time, for a specific subclass of theories. We extend previous works to include slow rotation and find a relation between the dimensionless moment of intertia, (I¯=Ic2/GNM3), and the compactness, C=GNM/Rc2 (an I¯-C relation), independent of the equation of state, that is reminiscent of but distinct from the general relativity prediction. Several of our equations of state contain hyperons and free quarks, allowing us to revisit the hyperon puzzle. We find that the maximum mass of hyperon stars can be larger than 2M for small values of the beyond Horndeski parameter, thus providing a resolution of the hyperon puzzle based on modified gravity. Moreover, stable quark stars exist when hyperonic stars are unstable, which means that the phase transition from hyperon to quark stars is predicted just as in general relativity, albeit with larger quark star masses. Two important and potentially observable consequences of some of the theories we consider are the existence of neutron stars in a range of masses significantly higher than in GR, and I¯-C relations that differ from their GR counterparts. In the former case, we find objects that, if observed, could not be accounted for in GR because they violate the usual GR causality condition. We end by discussing several difficult technical issues that remain to be addressed in order to reach more realistic predictions that may be tested using gravitational wave searches or neutron star observations.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysical Review D
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 9 Mar 2017


  • gr-qc
  • astro-ph.CO
  • hep-th
  • RCUK
  • STFC
  • ST/N000668/1


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