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  1. Abstract

    In so-called spider pulsars, the X-ray band is dominated by intrabinary shock (IBS) synchrotron emission. While the double-peaked X-ray light curves from these shocks have been well characterized in several spider systems (both black widows and redbacks), the polarization of this emission is yet to be studied. Motivated by the new polarization capability of the Imaging X-ray Polarization Explorer and the confirmation of highly ordered magnetic fields in pulsar wind nebulae, we model the IBS polarization by employing two potential magnetic field configurations: toroidal magnetic fields imposed by the preshock pulsar wind, and tangential shock-generated fields that follow the postshock flow. We find that if IBSs host ordered magnetic fields, the synchrotron X-rays from spider binaries can display a high degree of polarization (≳50%), while the variation in polarization angle provides a good probe of the binary geometry and the magnetic field structure. Our results encourage observational polarization studies of spider pulsars that can distinguish the proposed magnetic models and that constrain the unique properties of these systems better.

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    Precursors have been observed seconds to minutes before some short gamma-ray bursts. While the precursor origins remain unknown, one explanation relies on the resonance of neutron star pulsational modes with the tidal forces during the inspiral phase of a compact binary merger. In this paper, we present a model for short gamma-ray burst precursors that relies on tidally resonant neutron star oceans. In this scenario, the onset of tidal resonance in the crust–ocean interface mode ignites the precursor flare, possibly through the interaction between the excited neutron star ocean and the surface magnetic fields. From just the precursor total energy, the time before the main event, and a detected quasi-periodic oscillation frequency, we may constrain the binary parameters and neutron star ocean properties. Our model can immediately distinguish neutron star–black hole mergers from binary neutron star mergers without gravitational wave detection. We apply our model to GRB 211211A, the recently detected long duration short gamma-ray burst with a quasi-periodic precursor, and explore the parameters of this system. The precursor of GRB 211211A is consistent with a tidally resonant neutron star ocean explanation that requires an extreme mass ratio neutron star–black hole merger and a high-mass neutron star. While difficult to reconcile with the main gamma-ray burst and associated kilonova, our results constrain the possible precursor mechanisms in this system. A systematic study of short gamma-ray burst precursors with the model presented here can test precursor origin and probe the possible connection between gamma-ray bursts and neutron star–black hole mergers.

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    Neutron stars in astrophysical binary systems represent exciting sources for multimessenger astrophysics. A potential source of electromagnetic transients from compact binary systems is the neutron star ocean, the external fluid layer encasing a neutron star. We present a groundwork study into tidal waves in neutron star oceans and their consequences. Specifically, we investigate how oscillation modes in neutron star oceans can be tidally excited during compact binary inspirals and parabolic encounters. We find that neutron star oceans can sustain tidal waves with frequencies between 0.01 and 20 Hz. Our results suggest that tidally resonant neutron star ocean waves may serve as a never-before studied source of precursor electromagnetic emission prior to neutron star–black hole and binary neutron star mergers. If accompanied by electromagnetic flares, tidally resonant neutron star ocean waves, whose energy budget can reach 1046 erg, may serve as early warning signs (≳1 min before merger) for compact binary mergers. Similarly, excited ocean tidal waves will coincide with neutron star parabolic encounters. Depending on the neutron star ocean model and a flare emission scenario, tidally resonant ocean flares may be detectable by Fermi and Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) out to ≳100 Mpc with detection rates as high as ∼7 yr−1 for binary neutron stars and ∼0.6 yr−1 for neutron star–black hole binaries. Observations of emission from neutron star ocean tidal waves along with gravitational waves will provide insight into the equation of state at the neutron star surface, the composition of neutron star oceans and crusts, and neutron star geophysics.

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    With the inception of gravitational wave astronomy, astrophysical studies using interferometric techniques have begun to probe previously unknown parts of the Universe. In this work, we investigate the potential of a new interferometric experiment to study a unique group of gravitationally interacting sources within our Solar system: binary asteroids. We present the first study into binary asteroid detection via gravitational signals. We identify the interferometer sensitivity necessary for detecting a population of binary asteroids in the asteroid belt. We find that the space-based gravitational wave detector LISA will have negligible ability to detect these sources as these signals will be well below the LISA noise curve. Consequently, we propose a 4.6 au and a 1 au arm-length interferometer specialized for binary asteroid detection, targeting frequencies between 10−6 and 10−4 Hz. Our results demonstrate that the detection of binary asteroids with space-based gravitational wave interferometers is possible though very difficult, requiring substantially improved interferometric technology over what is presently proposed for space-based missions. If that threshold can be met, an interferometer may be used to map the asteroid belt, allowing for new studies into the evolution of our Solar system.

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  5. null (Ed.)
  6. Abstract One of the proposed channels of binary black hole mergers involves dynamical interactions of three black holes. In such scenarios, it is possible that all three black holes merge in a so-called hierarchical merger chain, where two of the black holes merge first and then their remnant subsequently merges with the remaining single black hole. Depending on the dynamical environment, it is possible that both mergers will appear within the observable time window. Here we perform a search for such merger pairs in the public available LIGO and Virgo data from the O1/O2 runs. Using a frequentist p-value assignment statistics we do not find any significant merger pair candidates, the most significant being GW170809-GW151012 pair. Assuming no observed candidates in O3/O4, we derive upper limits on merger pairs to be ∼11 − 110 year−1Gpc−3, corresponding to a rate that relative to the total merger rate is ∼0.1 − 1.0. From this we argue that both a detection and a non-detection within the next few years can be used to put useful constraints on some dynamical progenitor models. 
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