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Constraining properties of neutron star merger outflows with radio observations

Dobie, Dougal and Kaplan, David L. and Hotokezaka, Kenta and Murphy, Tara and Deller, Adam and Hallinan, Gregg and Nissanke, Samaya (2020) Constraining properties of neutron star merger outflows with radio observations. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 494 (2). pp. 2449-2464. ISSN 0035-8711.

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The jet opening angle and inclination of GW170817 – the first detected binary neutron star merger – were vital to understand its energetics, relation to short gamma-ray bursts, and refinement of the standard siren-based determination of the Hubble constant, H₀. These basic quantities were determined through a combination of the radio light curve and Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) measurements of proper motion. In this paper, we discuss and quantify the prospects for the use of radio VLBI observations and observations of scintillation-induced variability to measure the source size and proper motion of merger afterglows, and thereby infer properties of the merger including inclination angle, opening angle, and energetics. We show that these techniques are complementary as they probe different parts of the circum-merger density/inclination angle parameter space and different periods of the temporal evolution of the afterglow. We also find that while VLBI observations will be limited to the very closest events it will be possible to detect scintillation for a large fraction of events beyond the range of current gravitational wave detectors. Scintillation will also be detectable with next-generation telescopes such as the Square Kilometre Array, 2000 antenna Deep Synoptic Array, and the next-generation Very Large Array, for a large fraction of events detected with third-generation gravitational wave detectors. Finally, we discuss prospects for the measurement of the H₀ with VLBI observations of neutron star mergers and compare this technique to other standard siren methods.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Dobie, Dougal0000-0003-0699-7019
Kaplan, David L.0000-0001-6295-2881
Hotokezaka, Kenta0000-0002-2502-3730
Murphy, Tara0000-0002-2686-438X
Deller, Adam0000-0001-9434-3837
Hallinan, Gregg0000-0002-7083-4049
Additional Information:© 2020 The Author(s) Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model ( Accepted 2020 March 16. Received 2020 March 15; in original form 2019 October 30. Published: 17 April 2020. We thank Mark Walker for useful discussions, and both the anonymous referee and Gavin Lamb for a number of suggestions that improved this work. DD is supported by an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship. TM acknowledges the support of the Australian Research Council through grant no. DP190100561. DLK was supported by NSF grant no. AST-1816492. Parts of this research were conducted by the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav), project number CE170100004. This research has made use of NASA’s Astrophysics Data System Bibliographic Services. Software:ASTROPY (Astropy Collaboration et al. 2018), CMASHER (van der Velden 2020), JUPYTER (Kluyver et al. 2016), MATPLOTLIB (Hunter 2007), NE2001 (Cordes & Lazio 2002), and NUMPY (van der Walt, Colbert & Varoquaux 2011).
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Australian Research CouncilDP190100561
Australian Research CouncilCE170100004
Subject Keywords:gravitational waves – stars: neutron – radio continuum: transients – neutron star mergers
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20191119-084235523
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Official Citation:Dougal Dobie, David L Kaplan, Kenta Hotokezaka, Tara Murphy, Adam Deller, Gregg Hallinan, Samaya Nissanke, Constraining properties of neutron star merger outflows with radio observations, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 494, Issue 2, May 2020, Pages 2449–2464,
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:99922
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:19 Nov 2019 17:20
Last Modified:04 Jun 2020 21:35

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