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Illuminating gravitational waves: A concordant picture of photons from a neutron star merger
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Number of Authors: 812017 (English)In: Science, ISSN 0036-8075, E-ISSN 1095-9203, Vol. 358, no 6370, p. 1559-+Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Merging neutron stars offer an excellent laboratory for simultaneously studying strong-field gravity and matter in extreme environments. We establish the physical association of an electromagnetic counterpart (EM170817) with gravitational waves (GW170817) detected from merging neutron stars. By synthesizing a panchromatic data set, 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 ultrarelativistic jets. Instead, we suggest that breakout of a wide-angle, mildly relativistic cocoon engulfing the jet explains the low-luminosity gamma rays, the high-luminosity ultraviolet-optical-infrared, and the delayed radio and x-ray emission. We posit that all neutron star mergers may lead to a wide-angle cocoon breakout, sometimes accompanied by a successful jet and sometimes by a choked jet.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 358, no 6370, p. 1559-+
National Category
Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-151196DOI: 10.1126/science.aap9455ISI: 000418448000051OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-151196DiVA, id: diva2:1173000
Available from: 2018-01-11 Created: 2018-01-11 Last updated: 2018-01-11Bibliographically approved

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Singer, L. P.Kaplan, D. L.Feindt, UlrichGoobar, ArielRosswog, StephanSollerman, Jesper
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Department of PhysicsThe Oskar Klein Centre for Cosmo Particle Physics (OKC)Department of Astronomy
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