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Heavy-element production in a compact object merger observed by JWST
Stockholm University, Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics (Nordita). Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physics. Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, The Oskar Klein Centre for Cosmo Particle Physics (OKC).ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2700-1030
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, The Oskar Klein Centre for Cosmo Particle Physics (OKC). Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physics.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6797-1889
Number of Authors: 852024 (English)In: Nature, ISSN 0028-0836, E-ISSN 1476-4687, Vol. 626, p. 737-741Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

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 (GWs)2 and likely production sites for heavy-element nucleosynthesis by means of rapid neutron capture (the r-process)3. Here we present observations of the exceptionally bright GRB 230307A. We show that GRB 230307A belongs to the class of long-duration GRBs associated with compact object mergers4,5,6 and contains a kilonova similar to AT2017gfo, associated with the GW merger GW170817 (refs. 7,8,9,10,11,12). We obtained James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) mid-infrared 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-infrared owing 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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2024. Vol. 626, p. 737-741
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Atom and Molecular Physics and Optics Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
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URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-227416DOI: 10.1038/s41586-023-06759-1ISI: 001169196100001PubMedID: 37879361Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85182219102OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-227416DiVA, id: diva2:1844541
Available from: 2024-03-14 Created: 2024-03-14 Last updated: 2024-04-29Bibliographically approved

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Sarin, NikhilSchulze, Steve

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Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics (Nordita)Department of PhysicsThe Oskar Klein Centre for Cosmo Particle Physics (OKC)
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