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

Kasliwal, MM, Nakar, E, Singer, LP, Kaplan, DL, Cook, DO, Van Sistine, A, Lau, RM, Fremling, C, Gottlieb, O, Jencson, JE, Adams, SM, Feindt, U, Hotokezaka, K, Ghosh, S, Perley, DA, Yu, P-C, Piran, T, Allison, JR, Anupama, GC, Balasubramanian, A , Bannister, KW, Bally, J, Barnes, J, Barway, S, Bellm, E, Bhalerao, V, Bhattacharya, D, Blagorodnova, N, Bloom, JS, Brady, PR, Cannella, C, Chatterjee, D, Cenko, SB, Cobb, BE, Copperwheat, CM, Corsi, A, De, K, Dobie, D, Emery, SWK, Evans, PA, Fox, OD, Frail, DA, Frohmaier, C, Goobar, A, Hallinan, G, Harrison, F, Helou, G, Hinderer, T, Ho, AYQ, Horesh, A, Ip, W-H, Itoh, R, Kasen, D, Kim, H, Kuin, NPM, Kupfer, T, Lynch, C, Madsen, K, Mazzali, PA, Miller, AA, Mooley, K, Murphy, T, Ngeow, C-C, Nichols, D, Nissanke, S, Nugent, P, Ofek, EO, Qi, H, Quimby, RM, Rosswog, S, Rusu, F, Sadler, EM, Schmidt, P, Sollerman, J, Steele, IA, Williamson, AR, Xu, Y, Yan, L, Yatsu, Y, Zhang, C and Zhao, W (2017) Illuminating gravitational waves: A concordant picture of photons from a neutron star merger. Science. ISSN 1095-9203

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Open Access URL: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1710.05436 (Accepted version)


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.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: MD Multidisciplinary
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Q Science > QC Physics
Q Science > QD Chemistry
Divisions: Astrophysics Research Institute
Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2017 11:38
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2017 11:38
DOI or Identification number: 10.1126/science.aap9455
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/7446

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