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Heavy element production in a compact object merger observed by JWST

Levan, A, Gompertz, BP, Salafia, OS, Bulla, M, Burns, E, Hotokezaka, K, Izzo, L, Lamb, GP, Malesani, DB, Oates, SR, Ravasio, ME, Rouco Escorial, A, Schneider, B, Sarin, N, Schulze, S, Tanvir, NR, Ackley, K, Anderson, G, Brammer, GB, Christensen, L , Dhillon, VS, Evans, PA, Fausnaugh, M, Fong, W-F, Fruchter, AS, Fryer, C, Fynbo, JPU, Gaspari, N, Heintz, KE, Hjorth, J, Kennea, JA, Kennedy, MR, Laskar, T, Leloudas, G, Mandel, I, Martin-Carrillo, A, Metzger, BD, Nicholl, M, Nugent, A, Palmerio, JT, Pugliese, G, Rastinejad, J, Rhodes, L, Rossi, A, Saccardi, A, Smartt, SJ, Stevance, HF, Tohuvavohu, A, van der Horst, A, Vergani, SD, Watson, D, Barclay, T, Bhirombhakdi, K, Breedt, E, Breeveld, AA, Brown, AJ, Campana, S, Chrimes, AA, D’Avanzo, P, D’Elia, V, De Pasquale, M, Dyer, MJ, Galloway, DK, Garbutt, JA, Green, MJ, Hartmann, DH, Jakobsson, P, Kerry, P, Kouveliotou, C, Langeroodi, D, Le Floc’h, E, Leung, JK, Littlefair, SP, Munday, J, O’Brien, P, Parsons, SG, Pelisoli, I, Sahman, DI, Salvaterra, R, Sbarufatti, B, Steeghs, D, Tagliaferri, G, Thöne, CC, de Ugarte Postigo, A and Kann, DA (2023) Heavy element production in a compact object merger observed by JWST. Nature. ISSN 0028-0836

GRB230307A_accepted.pdf - Accepted Version

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The mergers of binary compact objects such as neutron stars and black holes are of central interest to several areas of astrophysics, including as the progenitors of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs)1, sources of high-frequency gravitational waves (GW)2 and likely production sites for heavy element nucleosynthesis via rapid neutron capture (the r-process)3. Here we present observations of the exceptionally bright gamma-ray burst GRB 230307A. We show that GRB 230307A belongs to the class of long-duration gamma-ray bursts associated with compact object mergers4–6, and contains a kilonova similar to AT2017gfo, associated with the gravitational-wave merger GW1708177–12. We obtained James Webb Space Telescope mid-infrared (mid-IR) imaging and spectroscopy 29 and 61 days after the burst. The spectroscopy shows an emission line at 2.15 microns which we interpret as tellurium (atomic mass A=130), and a very red source, emitting most of its light in the mid-IR due to the production of lanthanides. These observations demonstrate that nucleosynthesis in GRBs can create r-process elements across a broad atomic mass range and play a central role in heavy element nucleosynthesis across the Universe.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: General Science & Technology
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Divisions: Astrophysics Research Institute
Publisher: Springer Science and Business Media LLC
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 27 Oct 2023 14:37
Last Modified: 25 Apr 2024 00:50
DOI or ID number: 10.1038/s41586-023-06759-1
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/21754
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