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

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