3 years ago

Constraining the Maximum Mass of Neutron Stars From Multi-Messenger Observations of GW170817.

Ben Margalit, Brian Metzger

We combine electromagnetic (EM) and gravitational wave (GW) information on the binary neutron star (NS) merger GW170817 in order to constrain the radii $R_{\rm ns}$ and maximum mass $M_{\rm max}$ of NSs. GW170817 was followed by a range of EM counterparts, including a weak gamma-ray burst (GRB), kilonova (KN) emission from the radioactive decay of the merger ejecta, and X-ray/radio emission consistent with being the synchrotron afterglow of a more powerful off-axis jet. The type of compact remnant produced in the immediate merger aftermath, and its predicted EM signal, depend sensitively on the high-density NS equation of state (EOS). For a soft EOS which supports a low $M_{\rm max}$, the merger undergoes a prompt collapse accompanied by a small quantity of shock-heated or disk wind ejecta, inconsistent with the large quantity $\gtrsim 10^{-2}M_{\odot}$ of lanthanide-free ejecta inferred from the KN. On the other hand, if $M_{\rm max}$ is sufficiently large, then the merger product is a rapidly-rotating supramassive NS (SMNS), which must spin-down before collapsing into a black hole. A fraction of the enormous rotational energy necessarily released by the SMNS during this process is transferred to the ejecta, either into the GRB jet (energy $E_{\rm GRB}$) or the KN ejecta (energy $E_{\rm ej}$), also inconsistent with observations. By combining the total binary mass of GW170817 inferred from the GW signal with conservative upper limits on $E_{\rm GRB}$ and $E_{\rm ej}$ from EM observations, we constrain the likelihood probability of a wide-range of previously-allowed EOS. These two constraints delineate an allowed region of the $M_{\rm max}-R_{\rm ns}$ parameter space, which once marginalized over NS radius places an upper limit of $M_{\rm max} \lesssim 2.17M_{\odot}$ (90\%), which is tighter or arguably less model-dependent than other current constraints.

Publisher URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1710.05938

DOI: arXiv:1710.05938v2

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