## Abstract

Recent inference results of the sound velocity in the cores of neutron stars are summarized. Implications for the equation of state and the phase structure of highly compressed baryonic matter are discussed. In view of the strong constraints imposed by the heaviest known pulsars, the equation of state must be very stiff in order to ensure the stability of these extreme objects. This required stiffness limits the possible appearance of phase transitions in neutron star cores. For example, a Bayes factor analysis quantifies strong evidence for squared sound velocities (Formula presented.) in the cores of 2.1 solar-mass and lighter neutron stars. Only weak first-order phase transitions with a small phase coexistence density range (Formula presented.) (at the 68% level) in a Maxwell construction still turn out to be possible within neutron stars. The central baryon densities in even the heaviest neutron stars do not exceed five times the density of normal nuclear matter. In view of these data-based constraints, much discussed issues such as the quest for a phase transition towards restored chiral symmetry and the active degrees of freedom in cold and dense baryonic matter, are reexamined.

Original language | English |
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Article number | 111 |

Journal | Symmetry |

Volume | 16 |

Issue number | 1 |

DOIs | |

State | Published - Jan 2024 |

## Keywords

- dense baryonic matter
- neutron stars
- phase transitions