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Title: First Multimessenger Observations of a Neutron Star Merger
We describe the first observations of the same celestial object with gravitational waves and light. ▪  GW170817 was the first detection of a neutron star merger with gravitational waves. ▪  The detection of a spatially coincident weak burst of gamma-rays (GRB 170817A) 1.7 s after the merger constituted the first electromagnetic detection of a gravitational wave source and established a connection between at least some cosmic short gamma-ray bursts (SGRBs) and binary neutron star mergers. ▪  A fast-evolving optical and near-infrared transient (AT 2017gfo) associated with the event can be interpreted as resulting from the ejection of ∼0.05 M ⊙ of material enriched in r-process elements, finally establishing binary neutron star mergers as at least one source of r-process nucleosynthesis. ▪  Radio and X-ray observations revealed a long-rising source that peaked ∼160,d after the merger. Combined with the apparent superluminal motion of the associated very long baseline interferometry source, these observations show that the merger produced a relativistic structured jet whose core was oriented ≈20 deg from the line of sight and with properties similar to SGRBs. The jet structure likely results from interaction between the jet and the merger ejecta. ▪  The electromagnetic and gravitational wave information can be more » combined to produce constraints on the expansion rate of the Universe and the equation of state of dense nuclear matter. These multimessenger endeavors will be a major emphasis of future work. « less
Award ID(s):
2224255 2221789 1944985 1909796
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
155 to 202
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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