The problem of having an accurate description of the spacetime around neutron stars is of great astrophysical interest. For astrophysical applications, one needs to have a metric that captures all the properties of the spacetime around a neutron star. Furthermore, an accurate appropriately parameterised metric, i.e., a metric that is given in terms of parameters that are directly related to the physical structure of the neutron star, could be used to solve the inverse problem, which is to infer the properties of the structure of a neutron star from astrophysical observations. In this work we present such an approximate stationary and axisymmetric metric for the exterior of neutron stars, which is constructed using the Ernst formalism and is parameterised by the relativistic multipole moments of the central object. This metric is given in terms of an expansion on the Weyl-Papapetrou coordinates with the multipole moments as free parameters and is shown to be extremely accurate in capturing the physical properties of a neutron star spacetime as they are calculated numerically in general relativity. Because the metric is given in terms of an expansion, the expressions are much simpler and easier to implement, in contrast to previous approaches. For the parameterisation of the metric in general relativity, the recently discovered universal 3-hair relations are used to produce a 3-parameter metric. Finally, a straightforward extension of this metric is given for scalar-tensor theories with a massless scalar field, which also admit a formulation in terms of an Ernst potential.
Wed, 19 Oct 16