Illuminating gravitational waves: a concordant picture of photons from a neutron star merger

M. M. Kasliwal, E. Nakar, L. P. Singer, D. L. Kaplan, D. O. Cook, A. Van Sistine, R. M. Lau, C. Fremling, O. Gottlieb, J. E. Jencson, S. M. Adams, U. Feindt, K. Hotokezaka, S. Ghosh, D. A. Perley, P. -C. Yu, T. Piran, J. R. Allison, G. C. Anupama, A. BalasubramanianK. W Bannister, J. Bally, J. Barnes, S. Barway, E. Bellm, V. Bhalerao, D. Bhattacharya, N. Blagorodnova, J. S. Bloom, P. R. Brady, C. Cannella, D. Chatterjee, S. B. Cenko, B. E. Cobb, C. Copperwheat, A. Corsi, K. De, D. Dobie, S. W. K. Emery, P. A. Evans, O. D. Fox, D. A. Frail, C. Frohmaier, A. Goobar, G. Hallinan, F. Harrison, G. Helou, T. Hinderer, A. Y. Q. Ho, A. Horesh, W. -H. Ip, R. Itoh, D. Kasen, H. Kim, N. P. M. Kuin, T. Kupfer, C. Lynch, K. Madsen, P. A. Mazzali, A. A. Miller, K. Mooley, T. Murphy, C. -C. Ngeow, D. Nichols, S. Nissanke, P. Nugent, E. O. Ofek, H. Qi, R. M. Quimby, S. Rosswog, F. Rusu, E. M. Sadler, P. Schmidt, J. Sollerman, I. Steele, A. R. Williamson, L. Yan, Y. Yatsu, W. Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Merging neutron stars offer an exquisite laboratory for simultaneously studying strong-field gravity and matter in extreme environments. We establish the physical association of an electromagnetic counterpart EM170817 to gravitational waves (GW170817) detected from merging neutron stars. By synthesizing a panchromatic dataset, we demonstrate that merging neutron stars are a long-sought production site forging heavy elements by r-process nucleosynthesis. The weak gamma-rays seen in EM170817 are dissimilar to classical short gamma-ray bursts with ultra-relativistic jets. Instead, we suggest that breakout of a wide-angle, mildly-relativistic cocoon engulfing the jet elegantly explains the low-luminosity gamma-rays, the high-luminosity ultraviolet-optical-infrared and the delayed radio/X-ray emission. We posit that all merging neutron stars may lead to a wide-angle cocoon breakout; sometimes accompanied by a successful jet and sometimes a choked jet.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1559–1565
Number of pages6
JournalScience
Volume358
Issue number6370
Early online date16 Oct 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Dec 2017

Keywords

  • astro-ph.HE
  • astro-ph.GA
  • astro-ph.SR
  • gr-qc

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Illuminating gravitational waves: a concordant picture of photons from a neutron star merger'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this