3 years ago

A long-lived remnant neutron star after GW 170817 inferred from its associated kilonova.

Yun-Wei Yu, Zi-Gao Dai

The successful joint observation of the gravitational wave event GW170817 and its multi-wavelength electromagnetic counterparts first enables human to witness a definite merger event of two neutron stars (NSs), which indicates the coming of a new era in multi-messenger astronomy. This historical event confirms the origin of short-duration gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), and in particular, identifies the theoretically-predicted kilonova phenomenon that is powered by radioactive decays of r-process heavy elements. However, whether a long-lived remnant NS can be formed during this merger event remains unknown, although such a central engine has been suggested by afterglow observations of some short-duration GRBs. By invoking this long-lived remnant NS, we here propose a model of hybrid energy sources for the kilonova, AT2017gfo, associated with GW 170817. While the early emission of AT2017gfo is still powered radioactively as usually suggested, its late emission is primarily caused by delayed energy injection from the remnant NS. In our model, only one single opacity is required and an intermediate value of $\kappa\simeq 1.0 cm^2g^{-1}$ is found, which could be naturally provided by lanthanide-rich ejecta that is deeply ionized by the emission from the NS wind. These self-consistent results indicate the formation of a long-lived remnant NS during the merger event of GW 170817, which further provides a very stringent constraint on the equation of state for dense NS matter.

Publisher URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1711.01898

DOI: arXiv:1711.01898v2

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