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Lanthanides or Dust in Kilonovae: Lessons Learned from GW170817
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Astronomy. Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, The Oskar Klein Centre for Cosmo Particle Physics (OKC).
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Number of Authors: 5
2017 (English)In: Astrophysical Journal Letters, ISSN 2041-8205, E-ISSN 2041-8213, Vol. 849, no 2, article id L19Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The unprecedented optical and near-infrared lightcurves of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitationalwave source, GW170817, a binary neutron star merger, exhibited a strong evolution from blue to near-infrared (a so-called kilonova or macronova). The emerging near-infrared component is widely attributed to the formation of r-process elements that provide the opacity to shift the blue light into the near-infrared. An alternative scenario is that the light from the blue component gets extinguished by dust formed by the kilonova and subsequently is reemitted at near-infrared wavelengths. We test here this hypothesis using the lightcurves of AT 2017gfo, the kilonova accompanying GW170817. We find that of the order of 10(-5) M-circle dot. of carbon is required to reproduce the optical/near-infrared lightcurves as the kilonova fades. This putative dust cools from similar to 2000. K at similar to 4 days after the event to similar to 1500 K over the course of the following week, thus requiring dust with a high condensation temperature, such as carbon. We contrast this with the nucleosynthetic yields predicted by a range of kilonova wind models. These suggest that at most 10(-9) M-circle dot of carbon is formed. Moreover, the decay in the inferred dust temperature is slower than that expected in kilonova models. We therefore conclude that in current models of the blue component of the kilonova, the near-infrared component in the kilonova accompanying GW170817 is unlikely to be due to dust.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 849, no 2, article id L19
Keyword [en]
binaries: general, dust, extinction, gravitational waves, infrared: stars, stars: neutron
National Category
Physical Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-149818DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aa93f9ISI: 000414266100001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-149818DiVA, id: diva2:1166246
Available from: 2017-12-14 Created: 2017-12-14 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved

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Gall, ChristaRosswog, StephanTanvir, Nial R.
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