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Bright transients from strongly-magnetized neutron star-black hole mergers

D’Orazio, Daniel J. and Levin, Janna and Murray, Norman W. and Price, Larry (2016) Bright transients from strongly-magnetized neutron star-black hole mergers. Physical Review D, 94 (2). Art. No. 023001. ISSN 2470-0010. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.94.023001.

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Direct detection of black hole-neutron star pairs is anticipated with the advent of aLIGO. Electromagnetic counterparts may be crucial for a confident gravitational-wave detection as well as for extraction of astronomical information. Yet black hole-neutron star pairs are notoriously dark and so inaccessible to telescopes. Contrary to this expectation, a bright electromagnetic transient can occur in the final moments before merger as long as the neutron star is highly magnetized. The orbital motion of the neutron star magnet creates a Faraday flux and corresponding power available for luminosity. A spectrum of curvature radiation ramps up until the rapid injection of energy ignites a fireball, which would appear as an energetic blackbody peaking in the x ray to γ rays for neutron star field strengths ranging from 10^(12) to 10^(16)  G respectively and a 10  M_⊙ black hole. The fireball event may last from a few milliseconds to a few seconds depending on the neutron star magnetic-field strength, and may be observable with the Fermi Gamma-Ray Burst Monitor with a rate up to a few per year for neutron star field strengths ≳10^(14)  G. We also discuss a possible decaying post-merger event which could accompany this signal. As an electromagnetic counterpart to these otherwise dark pairs, the black-hole battery should be of great value to the development of multi-messenger astronomy in the era of aLIGO.

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Alternate Title:Bright Transients from Black Hole - Neutron Star Mergers
Additional Information:© 2016 American Physical Society. Received 24 December 2015; revised manuscript received 9 May 2016; published 5 July 2016. The authors thank Andrei Beloborodov, BrianMetzger, and Sean McWilliams for useful discussions. The authors also thank the anonymous referee for comments that improved the manuscript. D. J. D. acknowledges support from a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship under Grant No. DGE1144155. J. L. thanks the Tow Foundation for their support. J. L. was also supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship and is a Chancellor’s Fellow at Chapman University. This research was undertaken, in part, thanks to funding from the Canada Research Chairs program. Canada Research Chairs program was supported in part by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSF Graduate Research FellowshipDGE1144155
Guggenheim FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Chapman UniversityUNSPECIFIED
Canada Research Chairs ProgramUNSPECIFIED
Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of CanadaUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20160711-081727389
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Official Citation:Bright transients from strongly-magnetized neutron star-black hole mergers Daniel J. D’Orazio, Janna Levin, Norman W. Murray, and Larry Price Phys. Rev. D 94, 023001 (2016) - Published 5 July 2016
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:68943
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:11 Jul 2016 16:07
Last Modified:11 Nov 2021 04:07

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