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Title: EFFECT OF A HIGH OPACITY ON THE LIGHT CURVES OF RADIOACTIVELY POWERED TRANSIENTS FROM COMPACT OBJECT MERGERS

The coalescence of compact objects is a promising astrophysical source of detectable gravitational wave signals. The ejection of r-process material from such mergers may lead to a radioactively powered electromagnetic counterpart signal which, if discovered, would enhance the science returns. As very little is known about the optical properties of heavy r-process elements, previous light-curve models have adopted opacities similar to those of iron group elements. Here we consider the effect of heavier elements, particularly the lanthanides, which increase the ejecta opacity by several orders of magnitude. We include these higher opacities in time-dependent, multi-wavelength radiative transport calculations to predict the broadband light curves of one-dimensional models over a range of parameters (ejecta masses {approx}10{sup -3}-10{sup -1} M{sub Sun} and velocities {approx}0.1-0.3 c). We find that the higher opacities lead to much longer duration light curves which can last a week or more. The emission is shifted toward the infrared bands due to strong optical line blanketing, and the colors at later times are representative of a blackbody near the recombination temperature of the lanthanides (T {approx} 2500 K). We further consider the case in which a second mass outflow, composed of {sup 56}Ni, is ejected from a disk wind,more » and show that the net result is a distinctive two component spectral energy distribution, with a bright optical peak due to {sup 56}Ni and an infrared peak due to r-process ejecta. We briefly consider the prospects for detection and identification of these transients.« less
Authors:
;  [1]
  1. Departments of Physics and Astronomy, 366 LeConte Hall, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22133841
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 775; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; COALESCENCE; COLOR; COMPACTS; ENERGY SPECTRA; GRAVITATIONAL WAVES; IRON; NICKEL 56; NUCLEOSYNTHESIS; ONE-DIMENSIONAL CALCULATIONS; OPACITY; R PROCESS; RARE EARTHS; RECOMBINATION; STELLAR WINDS; SUPERNOVAE; TIME DEPENDENCE; VISIBLE RADIATION; WAVELENGTHS