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Title: The first direct double neutron star merger detection: Implications for cosmic nucleosynthesis

Abstract

Context. The astrophysical r-process site where about half of the elements, heavier than iron are produced, has been a puzzle for several decades. Here we discuss the role of one of the leading ideas – neutron star mergers (NSMs) – in the light of the first direct detection of such an event in both gravitational (GW) and electromagnetic (EM) waves. Aims. Our aim is to understand the implications of the first GW/EM observations of a NSM for cosmic nucleosynthesis. Methods. We analyse bolometric and NIR lightcurves of the first detected double NSM and compare them to nuclear reaction network-based macronova models. Results. The slope of the bolometric lightcurve is consistent with the radioactive decay of neutron star ejecta with Ye ≲ 0.3 (but not larger), which provides strong evidence for an r-process origin of the electromagnetic emission. This rules out in particular “nickel winds” as major source of the emission. We find that the NIR lightcurves can be well fitted either with or without lanthanide-rich ejecta. Here, our limits on the ejecta mass together with estimated rates directly confirm earlier purely theoretical or indirect observational conclusions that double neutron star mergers are indeed a major site of cosmic nucleosynthesis. Ifmore » the ejecta mass was typical, NSMs can easily produce all of the estimated Galactic r-process matter, and – depending on the real rate – potentially even more. This could be a hint that the event ejected a particularly large amount of mass, maybe due to a substantial difference between the component masses. This would be compatible with the mass limits obtained from the GW-observation. Conclusions. The recent observations suggests that NSMs are responsible for a broad range of r-process nuclei and that they are at least a major, but likely the dominant r-process site in the Universe.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [2];  [2]; ORCiD logo [3]; ORCiD logo [3];  [4];  [4]
  1. Stockholm Univ. (Sweden). Oskar Klein Centre, Dept. of Astronomy
  2. Stockholm Univ. (Sweden). Oskar Klein Centre, Dept. of Physics
  3. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  4. California Inst. of Technology (CalTech), Pasadena, CA (United States). Dept. of Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) Program
OSTI Identifier:
1481133
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-17-30747
Journal ID: ISSN 0004-6361
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC52-06NA25396
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Astronomy and Astrophysics
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 615; Journal ID: ISSN 0004-6361
Publisher:
EDP Sciences
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS; gravitational waves; nucleosynthesis; astrochemistry; neutron stars; mergers; r-process; dense matter; radiation mechanisms; nuclear reactions, nucleosynthesis, abundances

Citation Formats

Rosswog, Stephan K., Sollerman, Jesper, Feindt, Ulrich, Goobar, Ariel, Korobkin, Oleg, Wollaeger, Ryan Thomas, Fremling, Cristoffer, and Kasliwal, Mansi. The first direct double neutron star merger detection: Implications for cosmic nucleosynthesis. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201732117.
Rosswog, Stephan K., Sollerman, Jesper, Feindt, Ulrich, Goobar, Ariel, Korobkin, Oleg, Wollaeger, Ryan Thomas, Fremling, Cristoffer, & Kasliwal, Mansi. The first direct double neutron star merger detection: Implications for cosmic nucleosynthesis. United States. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201732117.
Rosswog, Stephan K., Sollerman, Jesper, Feindt, Ulrich, Goobar, Ariel, Korobkin, Oleg, Wollaeger, Ryan Thomas, Fremling, Cristoffer, and Kasliwal, Mansi. Thu . "The first direct double neutron star merger detection: Implications for cosmic nucleosynthesis". United States. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201732117. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1481133.
@article{osti_1481133,
title = {The first direct double neutron star merger detection: Implications for cosmic nucleosynthesis},
author = {Rosswog, Stephan K. and Sollerman, Jesper and Feindt, Ulrich and Goobar, Ariel and Korobkin, Oleg and Wollaeger, Ryan Thomas and Fremling, Cristoffer and Kasliwal, Mansi},
abstractNote = {Context. The astrophysical r-process site where about half of the elements, heavier than iron are produced, has been a puzzle for several decades. Here we discuss the role of one of the leading ideas – neutron star mergers (NSMs) – in the light of the first direct detection of such an event in both gravitational (GW) and electromagnetic (EM) waves. Aims. Our aim is to understand the implications of the first GW/EM observations of a NSM for cosmic nucleosynthesis. Methods. We analyse bolometric and NIR lightcurves of the first detected double NSM and compare them to nuclear reaction network-based macronova models. Results. The slope of the bolometric lightcurve is consistent with the radioactive decay of neutron star ejecta with Ye ≲ 0.3 (but not larger), which provides strong evidence for an r-process origin of the electromagnetic emission. This rules out in particular “nickel winds” as major source of the emission. We find that the NIR lightcurves can be well fitted either with or without lanthanide-rich ejecta. Here, our limits on the ejecta mass together with estimated rates directly confirm earlier purely theoretical or indirect observational conclusions that double neutron star mergers are indeed a major site of cosmic nucleosynthesis. If the ejecta mass was typical, NSMs can easily produce all of the estimated Galactic r-process matter, and – depending on the real rate – potentially even more. This could be a hint that the event ejected a particularly large amount of mass, maybe due to a substantial difference between the component masses. This would be compatible with the mass limits obtained from the GW-observation. Conclusions. The recent observations suggests that NSMs are responsible for a broad range of r-process nuclei and that they are at least a major, but likely the dominant r-process site in the Universe.},
doi = {10.1051/0004-6361/201732117},
journal = {Astronomy and Astrophysics},
number = ,
volume = 615,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {7}
}

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Figures / Tables:

Fig. 1 Fig. 1: Nuclear heating rates of the explored parameter space, colours label Ye-values. Overlaid are bolometric luminosities computed following the description in Kasliwal et al. (2017) using updated photometry from https://kilonova.space (yellow circles). We show the total nuclear heating rate (luminosities divided by an ejecta mass of 1.5 × 10−2more » M). Also shown is the heating rate of a wind with Ye = 0.5 that produces a substantial amount of nickel, see last panel in Fig. 2. The close agreement with Ye ≲ 0.3 strongly suggests the presence of substantial amounts of r-process matter.« less

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