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  1. Abstract

    Neutrinos are copiously emitted by neutron star mergers, due to the high temperatures reached by dense matter during the merger and its aftermath. Neutrinos influence the merger dynamics and shape the properties of the ejecta, including the resultingr-process nucleosynthesis and kilonova emission. In this work, we analyse neutrino emission from a large sample of binary neutron star merger simulations in Numerical Relativity, covering a broad range of initial masses, nuclear equation of state and viscosity treatments. We extract neutrino luminosities and mean energies, and compute quantities of interest such as the peak values, peak broadnesses, time averages and decrease time scales. We provide a systematic description of such quantities, including their dependence on the initial parameters of the system. We find that for equal-mass systems the total neutrino luminosity (several$$10^{53}{\hbox {erg}~{\hbox {s}}^{-1}}$$1053ergs-1) decreases as the reduced tidal deformability increases, as a consequence of the less violent merger dynamics. Similarly, tidal disruption in asymmetric mergers leads to systematically smaller luminosities. Peak luminosities can be twice as large as the average ones. Electron antineutrino luminosities dominate (initially by a factor of 2-3) over electron neutrino ones, while electron neutrinos and heavy flavour neutrinos have similar luminosities. Mean energies are nearly constantmore »in time and independent on the binary parameters. Their values reflect the different decoupling temperature inside the merger remnant. Despite present uncertainties in neutrino modelling, our results provide a broad and physically grounded characterisation of neutrino emission, and they can serve as a reference point to develop more sophisticated neutrino transport schemes.

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    We develop a method to compute synthetic kilonova light curves that combine numerical relativity simulations of neutron star mergers and the SNEC radiation–hydrodynamics code. We describe our implementation of initial and boundary conditions, r-process heating, and opacities for kilonova simulations. We validate our approach by carefully checking that energy conservation is satisfied and by comparing the SNEC results with those of two semi-analytic light-curve models. We apply our code to the calculation of colour light curves for three binaries having different mass ratios (equal and unequal mass) and different merger outcome (short-lived and long-lived remnants). We study the sensitivity of our results to hydrodynamic effects, nuclear physics uncertainties in the heating rates, and duration of the merger simulations. We find that hydrodynamics effects are typically negligible and that homologous expansion is a good approximation in most cases. However, pressure forces can amplify the impact of uncertainties in the radioactive heating rates. We also study the impact of shocks possibly launched into the outflows by a relativistic jet. None of our models match AT2017gfo, the kilonova in GW170817. This points to possible deficiencies in our merger simulations and kilonova models that neglect non-LTE effects and possible additional energy injection frommore »the merger remnant and to the need to go beyond the assumption of spherical symmetry adopted in this work.

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    We present a new moment-based energy-integrated neutrino transport code for neutron star merger simulations in general relativity. In the merger context, ours is the first code to include Doppler effects at all orders in υ/c, retaining all non-linear neutrino–matter coupling terms. The code is validated with a stringent series of tests. We show that the inclusion of full neutrino–matter coupling terms is necessary to correctly capture the trapping of neutrinos in relativistically moving media, such as in differentially rotating merger remnants. We perform preliminary simulations proving the robustness of the scheme in simulating ab-initio mergers to black hole collapse and long-term neutron star remnants up to ${\sim }70\,$ ms. The latter is the longest dynamical space-time, 3D, general relativistic simulations with full neutrino transport to date. We compare results obtained at different resolutions and using two different closures for the moment scheme. We do not find evidences of significant out-of-thermodynamic equilibrium effects, such as bulk viscosity, on the post-merger dynamics or gravitational wave emission. Neutrino luminosities and average energies are in good agreement with theory expectations and previous simulations by other groups using similar schemes. We compare dynamical and early wind ejecta properties obtained with M1 and with ourmore »older neutrino treatment. We find that the M1 results have systematically larger proton fractions. However, the differences in the nucleosynthesis yields are modest. This work sets the basis for future detailed studies spanning a wider set of neutrino reactions, binaries, and equations of state.

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    Strong magnetic fields play an important role in powering the emission of neutron stars. Nevertheless, a full understanding of the interior configuration of the field remains elusive. In this work, we present general relativistic magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) simulations of the magnetic field evolution in neutron stars lasting ${\sim } {880}\,$ms (∼6.5 Alfvén crossing periods) and up to resolutions of $0.1155\,$km using Athena++. We explore two different initial conditions, one with purely poloidal magnetic field and the other with a dominant toroidal component, and study the poloidal and toroidal field energies, the growth times of the various instability-driven oscillation modes, and turbulence. We find that the purely poloidal setup generates a toroidal field, which later decays exponentially reaching $1{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ of the total magnetic energy, showing no evidence of reaching equilibrium. The initially stronger toroidal field setup, on the other hand, loses up to 20 per cent of toroidal energy and maintains this state till the end of our simulation. We also explore the hypothesis, drawn from previous MHD simulations, that turbulence plays an important role in the quasi-equilibrium state. An analysis of the spectra in our higher resolution setups reveals, however, that in most cases we are not observing turbulence atmore »small scales, but rather a noisy velocity field inside the star. We also observe that the majority of the magnetic energy gets dissipated as heat increasing the internal energy of the star, while a small fraction gets radiated away as electromagnetic radiation.

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  5. Abstract

    We study the production of very light elements (Z< 20) in the dynamical and spiral-wave wind ejecta of binary neutron star mergers by combining detailed nucleosynthesis calculations with the outcome of numerical relativity merger simulations. All our models are targeted to GW170817 and include neutrino radiation. We explore different finite-temperature, composition-dependent nuclear equations of state, and binary mass ratios, and find that hydrogen and helium are the most abundant light elements. For both elements, the decay of free neutrons is the driving nuclear reaction. In particular, ∼0.5–2 × 10−6Mof hydrogen are produced in the fast expanding tail of the dynamical ejecta, while ∼1.5–11 × 10−6Mof helium are synthesized in the bulk of the dynamical ejecta, usually in association with heavyr-process elements. By computing synthetic spectra, we find that the possibility of detecting hydrogen and helium features in kilonova spectra is very unlikely for fiducial masses and luminosities, even when including nonlocal thermodynamic equilibrium effects. The latter could be crucial to observe helium lines a few days after merger for faint kilonovae or for luminous kilonovae ejecting large masses of helium. Finally, we compute the amount of strontium synthesized in the dynamical and spiral-wave wind ejecta, and find that itmore »is consistent with (or even larger than, in the case of a long-lived remnant) the one required to explain early spectral features in the kilonova of GW170817.

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  6. 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 withn< 0.01 cm−3. We report on observational evidence for an excess of X-ray emission atδt> 900 days after the merger. WithLx≈ 5 × 1038erg s−1at 1234 days, the recently detected X-ray emission represents a ≥3.2σ(Gaussian equivalent) deviation from the universal post-jet-break model that best fits the multiwavelength afterglow at earlier times. In the context ofJetFitafterglow models, current data represent a departure with statistical significance ≥3.1σ, depending on the fireball collimation, with the most realistic models showing excesses at the level of ≥3.7σ. 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 mergermore »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.

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