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  1. Abstract

    We present a comprehensive study of 29 short gamma-ray bursts (SGRBs) observed ≈0.8−60 days postburst using Chandra and XMM-Newton. We provide the inferred distributions of the SGRB jet opening angles and true event rates to compare against neutron star merger rates. We perform a uniform analysis and modeling of their afterglows, obtaining 10 opening angle measurements and 19 lower limits. We report on two new opening angle measurements (SGRBs 050724A and 200411A) and eight updated values, obtaining a median value of 〈θj〉 ≈ 6.°1 [−3.°2, +9.°3] (68% confidence on the full distribution) from jet measurements alone. For the remaining events, we inferθj≳ 0.°5–26°. We uncover a population of SGRBs with wider jets ofθj≳ 10° (including two measurements ofθj≳ 15°), representing ∼28% of our sample. Coupled with multiwavelength afterglow information, we derive a total true energy of 〈Etrue,tot〉 ≈ 1049–1050erg, which is consistent with magnetohydrodynamic jet launching mechanisms. Furthermore, we determine a range for the beaming-corrected event rate ofRtrue3601800Gpc−3yr−1, set by the inclusion of a population of wide jets on the low end, and the jet measurements alone on the high end. From a comparison with the latest merger rates, our results are consistent with the majority of SGRBs originating from binary neutron star mergers. However, our inferred rates are well above the latest neutron star–black hole merger rates, consistent with at most a small fraction of SGRBs originating from such mergers.

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  2. Abstract

    We present a comprehensive analysis of 653 optical candidate counterparts reported during the third gravitational-wave (GW) observing run. Our sample concentrates on candidates from the 15 events (published in GWTC-2, GWTC-3, or not retracted on GraceDB) that had a >1% chance of including a neutron star in order to assess their viability as true kilonovae. In particular, we leverage tools available in real time, including pre-merger detections and cross-matching with catalogs (i.e., point-source, variable-star, quasar and host-galaxy redshift data sets), to eliminate 65% of candidates in our sample. We further employ spectroscopic classifications, late-time detections, and light-curve behavior analyses and conclude that 66 candidates remain viable kilonovae. These candidates lack sufficient information to determine their classifications, and the majority would require luminosities greater than that of AT 2017gfo. Pre-merger detections in public photometric survey data and comparison of cataloged host-galaxy redshifts with the GW event distances are critical to incorporate into vetting procedures, as these tools eliminated >20% and >30% of candidates, respectively. We expect that such tools that leverage archival information will significantly reduce the strain on spectroscopic and photometric follow-up resources in future observing runs. Finally, we discuss the critical role prompt updates from GW astronomers to the EM community play in reducing the number of candidates requiring vetting.

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  3. Abstract

    We present the discovery of the first millimeter afterglow of a short-durationγ-ray burst (SGRB) and the first confirmed afterglow of an SGRB localized by the GUANO system on Swift. Our Atacama Large Millimeter/Sub-millimeter Array (ALMA) detection of SGRB 211106A establishes an origin in a faint host galaxy detected in Hubble Space Telescope imaging at 0.7 ≲z≲ 1.4. From the lack of a detectable optical afterglow, coupled with the bright millimeter counterpart, we infer a high extinction,AV≳ 2.6 mag along the line of sight, making this one of the most highly dust-extincted SGRBs known to date. The millimeter-band light curve captures the passage of the synchrotron peak from the afterglow forward shock and reveals a jet break attjet=29.24.0+4.5days. For a presumed redshift ofz= 1, we infer an opening angle,θjet= (15.°5 ± 1.°4), and beaming-corrected kinetic energy oflog(EK/erg)=51.8±0.3, making this one of the widest and most energetic SGRB jets known to date. Combining all published millimeter-band upper limits in conjunction with the energetics for a large sample of SGRBs, we find that energetic outflows in high-density environments are more likely to have detectable millimeter counterparts. Concerted afterglow searches with ALMA should yield detection fractions of 24%–40% on timescales of ≳2 days at rates of ≈0.8–1.6 per year, outpacing the historical discovery rate of SGRB centimeter-band afterglows.

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  4. 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 previously 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. 
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