skip to main content

Title: Multimessenger Binary Mergers Containing Neutron Stars: Gravitational Waves, Jets, and γ-Ray Bursts
Neutron stars (NSs) are extraordinary not only because they are the densest form of matter in the visible Universe but also because they can generate magnetic fields ten orders of magnitude larger than those currently constructed on earth. The combination of extreme gravity with the enormous electromagnetic (EM) fields gives rise to spectacular phenomena like those observed on August 2017 with the merger of a binary neutron star system, an event that generated a gravitational wave (GW) signal, a short γ-ray burst (sGRB), and a kilonova. This event serves as the highlight so far of the era of multimessenger astronomy. In this review, we present the current state of our theoretical understanding of compact binary mergers containing NSs as gleaned from the latest general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic simulations. Such mergers can lead to events like the one on August 2017, GW170817, and its EM counterparts, GRB 170817 and AT 2017gfo. In addition to exploring the GW emission from binary black hole-neutron star and neutron star-neutron star mergers, we also focus on their counterpart EM signals. In particular, we are interested in identifying the conditions under which a relativistic jet can be launched following these mergers. Such a jet is an essential more » feature of most sGRB models and provides the main conduit of energy from the central object to the outer radiation regions. Jet properties, including their lifetimes and Poynting luminosities, the effects of the initial magnetic field geometries and spins of the coalescing NSs, as well as their governing equation of state, are discussed. Lastly, we present our current understanding of how the Blandford-Znajek mechanism arises from merger remnants as the trigger for launching jets, if, when and how a horizon is necessary for this mechanism, and the possibility that it can turn on in magnetized neutron ergostars, which contain ergoregions, but no horizons. « less
; ;
Award ID(s):
2006066 1662211
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Doglioni, C. ; Kim, D. ; Stewart, G.A. ; Silvestris, L. ; Jackson, P. ; Kamleh, W. (Ed.)
    The DESGW group seeks to identify electromagnetic counterparts of gravitational wave events seen by the LIGO-VIRGO network, such as those expected from binary neutron star mergers or neutron star-black hole mergers. DESGW was active throughout the first two LIGO observing seasons, following up several binary black hole mergers and the first binary neutron star merger, GW170817. This work describes the modifications to the observing strategy generation and image processing pipeline between the second (ending in August 2017) and third (beginning in April 2019) LIGO observing seasons. The modifications include a more robust observing strategy generator, further parallelization of the imagemore »reduction software and difference imaging processing pipeline, data transfer streamlining, and a web page listing identified counterpart candidates that updates in real time. Taken together, the additional parallelization steps enable the identification of potential electromagnetic counterparts within fully calibrated search images in less than one hour, compared to the 3-5 hours it would typically take during the first two seasons. These performance improvements are critical to the entire EM follow-up community, as rapid identification (or rejection) of candidates enables detailed and rapid spectroscopic follow-up by multiple instruments, leading to more information about the environment immediately following such gravitational wave events.« less
  2. The long-awaited detection of a gravitational wave from the merger of a binary neutron star in August 2017 (GW170817) marks the beginning of the new field of multi-messenger gravitational wave astronomy. By exploiting the extracted tidal deformations of the two neutron stars from the late inspiral phase of GW170817, it is now possible to constrain several global properties of the equation of state of neutron star matter. However, the most interesting part of the high density and temperature regime of the equation of state is solely imprinted in the post-merger gravitational wave emission from the remnant hypermassive/supramassive neutron star. Thismore »regime was not observed in GW170817, but will possibly be detected in forthcoming events within the current observing run of the LIGO/VIRGO collaboration. Numerous numerical-relativity simulations of merging neutron star binaries have been performed during the last decades, and the emitted gravitational wave profiles and the interior structure of the generated remnants have been analysed in detail. The consequences of a potential appearance of a hadron-quark phase transition in the interior region of the produced hypermassive neutron star and the evolution of its underlying matter in the phase diagram of quantum cromo dynamics will be in the focus of this article. It will be shown that the different density/temperature regions of the equation of state can be severely constrained by a measurement of the spectral properties of the emitted post-merger gravitational wave signal from a future binary compact star merger event.« less
  3. We study the possible occurrence of the hadron-quark phase transition (PT) during the merging of neutron star binaries by hydrodynamical simulations employing a set of temperature dependent hybrid equations of state (EoSs). Following previous work we describe an unambiguous and measurable signature of deconfined quark matter in the gravitational-wave (GW) signal of neutron star binary mergers including equal-mass and unequal-mass systems of different total binary mass. The softening of the EoS by the PT at higher densities, i.e. after merging, leads to a characteristic increase of the dominant postmerger GW frequency f_peak relative to the tidal deformability Lambda inferred duringmore »the premerger inspiral phase. Hence, measuring such an increase of the postmerger frequency provides evidence for the presence of a strong PT. If the postmerger frequency and the tidal deformability are compatible with results from purely baryonic EoS models yielding very tight relations between f_peak and Lambda, a strong PT can be excluded up to a certain density. We find tight correlations of f_peak and Lambda with the maximum density during the early postmerger remnant evolution. These GW observables thus inform about the density regime which is probed by the remnant and its GW emission. Exploiting such relations we devise a directly applicable, concrete procedure to constrain the onset density of the QCD PT from future GW measurements. We point out two interesting scenarios: if no indications for a PT are inferred from a GW detection, our procedure yields a lower limit on the onset density of the hadron quark PT. On the contrary, if a merger event reveals evidence for the occurrence of deconfined quark matter, the inferred GW parameters set an upper limit on the PT onset density. (abridged)« less
  4. The coalescence of two neutron stars was recently observed in a multi-messenger detection of gravitational wave (GW) and electromagnetic (EM) radiation. Binary neutron stars that merge within a Hubble time, as well as many other compact binaries, are expected to form via common envelope evolution. Yet five decades of research on common envelope evolution have not yet resulted in a satisfactory understanding of the multi-spatial multi-timescale evolution for the systems that lead to compact binaries. In this paper, we report on the first successful simulations of common envelope ejection leading to binary neutron star formation in 3D hydrodynamics. We simulatemore »the dynamical inspiral phase of the interaction between a 12 M⊙ red supergiant and a 1.4 M⊙ neutron star for different initial separations and initial conditions. For all of our simulations, we find complete envelope ejection and a final orbital separation of ≈1.1 - 2.8R⊙ , leading to a binary neutron star that will merge within 0.01-1 Gyr. We find an αCE -equivalent efficiency of ≈0.1 - 0.4 for the models we study, but this may be specific for these extended progenitors. We fully resolve the core of the star to ≲0.005R⊙ and our 3D hydrodynamics simulations are informed by an adjusted 1D analytic energy formalism and a 2D kinematics study in order to overcome the prohibitive computational cost of simulating these systems. The framework we develop in this paper can be used to simulate a wide variety of interactions between stars, from stellar mergers to common envelope episodes leading to GW sources.« less
  5. Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are among the brightest and most energetic events in the universe. The duration and hardness distribution of GRBs has two clusters, now understood to reflect (at least) two different progenitors. Short-hard GRBs (SGRBs; T90 <2 s) arise from compact binary mergers, while long-soft GRBs (LGRBs; T90 >2 s) have been attributed to the collapse of peculiar massive stars (collapsars). The discovery of SN 1998bw/GRB 980425 marked the first association of a LGRB with a collapsar and AT 2017gfo/GRB 170817A/GW170817 marked the first association of a SGRB with a binary neutron star merger, producing also gravitational wave (GW).more »Here, we present the discovery of ZTF20abwysqy (AT2020scz), a fast-fading optical transient in the Fermi Satellite and the InterPlanetary Network (IPN) localization regions of GRB 200826A; X-ray and radio emission further confirm that this is the afterglow. Follow-up imaging (at rest-frame 16.5 days) reveals excess emission above the afterglow that cannot be explained as an underlying kilonova (KN), but is consistent with being the supernova (SN). Despite the GRB duration being short (rest-frame T90 of 0.65 s), our panchromatic follow-up data confirms a collapsar origin. GRB 200826A is the shortest LGRB found with an associated collapsar; it appears to sit on the brink between a successful and a failed collapsar. Our discovery is consistent with the hypothesis that most collapsars fail to produce ultra-relativistic jets.« less