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  1. Abstract GW190814 was a compact object binary coalescence detected in gravitational waves by Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo that garnered exceptional community interest due to its excellent localization and the uncertain nature of the binary’s lighter-mass component (either the heaviest known neutron star, or the lightest known black hole). Despite extensive follow-up observations, no electromagnetic counterpart has been identified. Here, we present new radio observations of 75 galaxies within the localization volume at Δ t ≈ 35–266 days post-merger. Our observations cover ∼32% of the total stellar luminosity in the final localization volume and extend to later timescales than previouslymore »reported searches, allowing us to place the deepest constraints to date on the existence of a radio afterglow from a highly off-axis relativistic jet launched during the merger (assuming that the merger occurred within the observed area). For a viewing angle of ∼46° (the best-fit binary inclination derived from the gravitational wave signal) and assumed electron and magnetic field energy fractions of ϵ e = 0.1 and ϵ B = 0.01, we can rule out a typical short gamma-ray burst-like Gaussian jet with an opening angle of 15° and isotropic-equivalent kinetic energy 2 × 10 51 erg propagating into a constant-density medium n ≳ 0.1 cm −3 . These are the first limits resulting from a galaxy-targeted search for a radio counterpart to a gravitational wave event, and we discuss the challenges—and possible advantages—of applying similar search strategies to future events using current and upcoming radio facilities.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  2. Abstract For the first ∼3 yrs after the binary neutron star merger event GW 170817, the radio and X-ray radiation has been dominated by emission from a structured relativistic off-axis jet propagating into a low-density medium with n < 0.01 cm −3 . We report on observational evidence for an excess of X-ray emission at δt > 900 days after the merger. With L x ≈ 5 × 10 38 erg s −1 at 1234 days, the recently detected X-ray emission represents a ≥3.2 σ (Gaussian equivalent) deviation from the universal post-jet-break model that best fits the multiwavelength afterglow atmore »earlier times. In the context of JetFit afterglow models, current data represent a departure with statistical significance ≥3.1 σ , depending on the fireball collimation, with the most realistic models showing excesses at the level of ≥3.7 σ . A lack of detectable 3 GHz radio emission suggests a harder broadband spectrum than the jet afterglow. These properties are consistent with the emergence of a new emission component such as synchrotron radiation from a mildly relativistic shock generated by the expanding merger ejecta, i.e., a kilonova afterglow. In this context, we present a set of ab initio numerical relativity binary neutron star (BNS) merger simulations that show that an X-ray excess supports the presence of a high-velocity tail in the merger ejecta, and argues against the prompt collapse of the merger remnant into a black hole. Radiation from accretion processes on the compact-object remnant represents a viable alternative. Neither a kilonova afterglow nor accretion-powered emission have been observed before, as detections of BNS mergers at this phase of evolution are unprecedented.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023
  3. null (Ed.)
  4. ABSTRACT We present and analyse a new tidal disruption event (TDE), AT2017eqx at redshift z = 0.1089, discovered by Pan-STARRS and ATLAS. The position of the transient is consistent with the nucleus of its host galaxy; the spectrum shows a persistent blackbody temperature T ≳ 20 000 K with broad H i and He ii emission; and it peaks at a blackbody luminosity of L ≈ 1044 erg s−1. The lines are initially centred at zero velocity, but by 100 d, the H i lines disappear while the He ii develops a blueshift of ≳ 5000 km s−1. Both the early- and late-time morphologies have been seen in other TDEs, but themore »complete transition between them is unprecedented. The evolution can be explained by combining an extended atmosphere, undergoing slow contraction, with a wind in the polar direction becoming visible at late times. Our observations confirm that a lack of hydrogen a TDE spectrum does not indicate a stripped star, while the proposed model implies that much of the diversity in TDEs may be due to the observer viewing angle. Modelling the light curve suggests AT2017eqx resulted from the complete disruption of a solar-mass star by a black hole of ∼106.3 M⊙. The host is another Balmer-strong absorption galaxy, though fainter and less centrally concentrated than most TDE hosts. Radio limits rule out a relativistic jet, while X-ray limits at 500 d are among the deepest for a TDE at this phase.« less