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Observing Quantum Vacuum Lensing in a Neutron Star Binary System

In this Letter we study the propagation of light in the neighborhood of magnetized neutron stars. Because of the optical properties of quantum vacuum in the presence of a magnetic field, the light emitted by background astronomical objects is deviated, giving rise to a phenomenon of the same kind as the gravitational one. We give a quantitative estimation of this effect, and we discuss the possibility of its observation. We show that this effect could be detected by monitoring the evolution of the recently discovered double neutron star system J0737-3039.

View online : Phys. Rev. Lett. 94, 161101 (2005)