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  1. Abstract Kilonovae are ultraviolet, optical, and infrared transients powered by the radioactive decay of heavy elements following a neutron star merger. Joint observations of kilonovae and gravitational waves can offer key constraints on the source of Galactic r -process enrichment, among other astrophysical topics. However, robust constraints on heavy element production require rapid kilonova detection (within ∼1 day of merger) as well as multiwavelength observations across multiple epochs. In this study, we quantify the ability of 13 wide-field-of-view instruments to detect kilonovae, leveraging a large grid of over 900 radiative transfer simulations with 54 viewing angles per simulation. We considermore »both current and upcoming instruments, collectively spanning the full kilonova spectrum. The Roman Space Telescope has the highest redshift reach of any instrument in the study, observing kilonovae out to z ∼ 1 within the first day post-merger. We demonstrate that BlackGEM, DECam, GOTO, the Vera C. Rubin Observatory’s LSST, ULTRASAT, VISTA, and WINTER can observe some kilonovae out to z ∼ 0.1 (∼475 Mpc), while DDOTI, MeerLICHT, PRIME, Swift/UVOT, and ZTF are confined to more nearby observations. Furthermore, we provide a framework to infer kilonova ejecta properties following nondetections and explore variation in detectability with these ejecta parameters.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023
  2. Abstract Binary neutron star mergers (NSMs) have been confirmed as one source of the heaviest observable elements made by the rapid neutron-capture ( r -) process. However, modeling NSM outflows—from the total ejecta masses to their elemental yields—depends on the unknown nuclear equation of state (EOS) that governs neutron star structure. In this work, we derive a phenomenological EOS by assuming that NSMs are the dominant sources of the heavy element material in metal-poor stars with r -process abundance patterns. We start with a population synthesis model to obtain a population of merging neutron star binaries and calculate their EOS-dependentmore »elemental yields. Under the assumption that these mergers were responsible for the majority of r -process elements in the metal-poor stars, we find parameters representing the EOS for which the theoretical NSM yields reproduce the derived abundances from observations of metal-poor stars. For our proof-of-concept assumptions, we find an EOS that is slightly softer than, but still in agreement with, current constraints, e.g., by the Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer, with R 1.4 = 12.25 ± 0.03 km and M TOV = 2.17 ± 0.03 M ⊙ (statistical uncertainties, neglecting modeling systematics).« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2023
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 29, 2022
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  7. ABSTRACT Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo are detecting a large number of binary stellar origin black hole (BH) mergers. A promising channel for accelerated BH merger lies in active galactic nucleus (AGN) discs of gas around supermasssive BHs. Here, we investigate the relative number of compact object (CO) mergers in AGN disc models, including BH, neutron stars (NS), and white dwarfs, via Monte Carlo simulations. We find the number of all merger types in the bulk disc grows ∝ t1/3 which is driven by the Hill sphere of the more massive merger component. Median mass ratios of NS–BH mergers in AGN discs aremore »$\tilde{q}=0.07\pm 0.06(0.14\pm 0.07)$ for mass functions (MF) M−1(− 2). If a fraction fAGN of the observed rate of BH–BH mergers (RBH–BH) come from AGN, the rate of NS–BH (NS–NS) mergers in the AGN channel is ${R}_{\mathrm{ BH}\!-\!\mathrm{ NS}} \sim f_{\mathrm{ AGN}}[10,300]\, \rm {Gpc}^{-3}\, \rm {yr}^{-1},({\mathit{ R}}_{NS\!-\!NS} \le \mathit{ f}_{AGN}400\, \rm {Gpc}^{-3}\, \rm {yr}^{-1}$). Given the ratio of NS–NS/BH–BH LIGO search volumes, from preliminary O3 results the AGN channel is not the dominant contribution to observed NS–NS mergers. The number of lower mass gap events expected is a strong function of the nuclear MF and mass segregation efficiency. CO merger ratios derived from LIGO can restrict models of MF, mass segregation, and populations embedded in AGN discs. The expected number of electromagnetic (EM) counterparts to NS–BH mergers in AGN discs at z < 1 is $\sim [30,900]\, {\rm {yr}}^{-1}(f_{\mathrm{ AGN}}/0.1)$. EM searches for flaring events in large AGN surveys will complement LIGO constraints on AGN models and the embedded populations that must live in them.« less