• stars: evolution;
  • stars: magnetic field;
  • stars: neutron;
  • pulsars: individual: 1E 1207.4−5209;
  • pulsars: individual: PSR J0821−4300;
  • pulsars: individual: PSR J1852+0040


The central compact objects are a newly emerging class of young neutron stars near the centre of supernova remnants. From X-ray timing and spectral measurements, their magnetic fields are determined to be ∼1010–1011 G, which is significantly lower than that found on most pulsars. Using the latest electrical and thermal conductivity calculations, we solve the induction equation to determine the evolution of a buried crustal or core magnetic field. We apply this model of a buried field to explain the youth and low observed magnetic field of the central compact objects. We obtain constraints on their birth magnetic field and depth of submergence (or accreted mass). Measurement of a change in the observed magnetic field strength would discriminate between the crustal and core fields and could yield uniquely the birth magnetic field and submergence depth. If we consider the central compact objects as a single neutron star viewed at different epochs, then we constrain the magnetic field at birth to be ∼(6–9) × 1011 G. A buried magnetic field can also explain their location in an underpopulated region of the spin period–period derivative plane for pulsars.