On 2017 August 17 a binary neutron star coalescence candidate (later designated GW170817) with merger time 12:41:04 UTC was observed through gravitational waves by the Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo detectors. The Fermi Gamma-ray Burst Monitor independently detected a gamma-ray burst (GRB 170817A) with a time delay of ∼ 1.7 s with respect to the merger time. From the gravitational-wave signal, the source was initially localized to a sky region of 31 deg2 at a luminosity distance of 40 − 8 + 8 Mpc and with component masses consistent with neutron stars. The component masses were later measured to be in the range 0.86 to 2.26 M ⊙ . An extensive observing campaign was launched across the electromagnetic spectrum leading to the discovery of a bright optical transient (SSS17a, now with the IAU identification of AT 2017gfo) in NGC 4993 (at ∼ 40 Mpc ) less than 11 hours after the merger by the One-Meter, Two Hemisphere (1M2H) team using the 1 m Swope Telescope. The optical transient was independently detected by multiple teams within an hour. Subsequent observations targeted the object and its environment. Early ultraviolet observations revealed a blue transient that faded within 48 hours. Optical and infrared observations showed a redward evolution over ∼10 days. Following early non-detections, X-ray and radio emission were discovered at the transient’s position ∼ 9 and ∼ 16 days, respectively, after the merger. Both the X-ray and radio emission likely arise from a physical process that is distinct from the one that generates the UV/optical/near-infrared emission. No ultra-high-energy gamma-rays and no neutrino candidates consistent with the source were found in follow-up searches. These observations support the hypothesis that GW170817 was produced by the merger of two neutron stars in NGC 4993 followed by a short gamma-ray burst (GRB 170817A) and a kilonova/macronova powered by the radioactive decay of r-process nuclei synthesized in the ejecta.
On 2017 August 17, the gravitational-wave event GW170817 was observed by the Advanced LIGO and Virgo detectors, and the gamma-ray burst (GRB) GRB170817A was observed independently by the Fermi Gamma-ray Burst Monitor, and the Anti-Coincidence Shield for the Spectrometer for the International Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory. The probability of the near-simultaneous temporal and spatial observation of GRB170817A and GW170817 occurring by chance is 5.0 10 8 -. We therefore confirm binary neutron star mergers as a progenitor of short GRBs. The association of GW170817 and GRB170817A provides new insight into fundamental physics and the origin of short GRBs. We use the observed time delay of 1.74 0.05 s + () between GRB170817A and GW170817 to: (i) constrain the difference between the speed of gravity and the speed of light to be between 3 10 15 -´and 7 10 16 +´times the speed of light, (ii) place new bounds on the violation of Lorentz invariance, (iii) present a new test of the equivalence principle by constraining the Shapiro delay between gravitational and electromagnetic radiation. We also use the time delay to constrain the size and bulk Lorentz factor of the region emitting the gamma-rays. GRB170817A is the closest short GRB with a known distance, but is between 2 and 6 orders of magnitude less energetic than other bursts with measured redshift. A new generation of gamma-ray detectors, and subthreshold searches in existing detectors, will be essential to detect similar short bursts at greater distances. Finally, we predict a joint detection rate for the Fermi Gamma-ray Burst Monitor and the Advanced LIGO and Virgo detectors of 0.1-1.4 per year during the 2018-2019 observing run and 0.3-1.7 per year at design sensitivity.
Two classes of X-ray pulsars, the Anomalous X-ray Pulsars and the Soft Gamma-ray Repeaters, have been recognized in the last decade as the most promising candidates for being magnetars: isolated neutron stars powered by magnetic energy. I review the observational properties of these objects, focussing on the most recent results, and their interpretation in the magnetar model. Alternative explanations, in particular those based on accretion from residual disks, are also considered. The possible relations between these sources and other classes of neutron stars and astrophysical objects are also discussed.
We report the e INTernational Gamma-ray Astrophysics Laboratory (INTEGRAL) detection of the short gamma-ray burst GRB 170817A (discovered by Fermi-GBM) with a signal-to-noise ratio of 4.6, and, for the first time, its association with the gravitational waves (GWs) from binary neutron star (BNS) merging event GW170817 detected by the LIGO and Virgo observatories. The significance of association between the gamma-ray burst observed by INTEGRAL and GW170817 is 3.2 σ, while the association between the Fermi-GBM and INTEGRAL detections is 4.2 σ. GRB 170817A was detected by the SPI-ACS instrument about 2 s after the end of the gravitational wave event. We measure a fluence of (1.4 ± 0.4 ± 0.6)×10 −7 erg cm −2 ) (75-2000 keV), where, respectively, the statistical error is given at the 1 σ confidence level, and the systematic error corresponds to the uncertainty in the spectral model and instrument response.We also report on the pointed follow-up observations carried out by INTEGRAL, starting 19.5 h after the event, and lasting for 5.4 days. We provide a stringent upper limit on any electromagnetic signal in a very broad energy range, from 3 keV to 8 MeV, constraining the soft gamma-ray afterglow flux to < 7.1×10 −11 erg cm −2 s −1 (80-300 keV).Exploiting the unique capabilities of INTEGRAL, we constrained the gamma-ray line emission from radioactive decays that are expected to be the principal source of the energy behind a kilonova event following a BNS coalescence. Finally, we put a stringent upper limit on any delayed bursting activity, for example from a newly formed magnetar.
Previous detections of individual astrophysical sources of neutrinos are limited to the Sun and the supernova 1987A, whereas the origins of the diffuse flux of high-energy cosmic neutrinos remain unidentified. On 22 September 2017, we detected a high-energy neutrino, IceCube-170922A, with an energy of ~290 tera-electron volts. Its arrival direction was consistent with the location of a known γ-ray blazar, TXS 0506+056, observed to be in a flaring state. An extensive multiwavelength campaign followed, ranging from radio frequencies to γ-rays. These observations characterize the variability and energetics of the blazar and include the detection of TXS 0506+056 in very-high-energy γ-rays. This observation of a neutrino in spatial coincidence with a γ-ray-emitting blazar during an active phase suggests that blazars may be a source of high-energy neutrinos.
We present the first extensive radio to γ-ray observations of a fast-rising blue optical transient (FBOT), AT 2018cow, over its first ∼100 days. AT 2018cow rose over a few days to a peak luminosity L pk ∼ 4 × 10 44 erg s −1 exceeding those of superluminous supernovae (SNe), before declining as L ∝ t −2 . Initial spectra at δt 15 days were mostly featureless and indicated large expansion velocities v ∼ 0.1 c and temperatures arXiv:1810.10720v1 [astro-ph.HE] 25 Oct 2018 2 MARGUTTI ET AL. reaching T ∼ 3 × 10 4 K. Later spectra revealed a persistent optically-thick photosphere and the emergence of H and He emission features with v ∼ 4000 km s −1 with no evidence for ejecta cooling. Our broad-band monitoring revealed a hard X-ray spectral component at E ≥ 10 keV, in addition to luminous and highly variable soft X-rays, with properties unprecedented among astronomical transients. An abrupt change in the X-ray decay rate and variability appears to accompany the change in optical spectral properties. AT 2018cow showed bright radio emission consistent with the interaction of a blastwave with v sh ∼ 0.1 c with a dense environment (Ṁ ∼ 10 −3 − 10 −4 M yr −1 for v w = 1000 km s −1 ). While these properties exclude 56 Ni-powered transients, our multi-wavelength analysis instead indicates that AT 2018cow harbored a "central engine", either a compact object (magnetar or black hole) or an embedded internal shock produced by interaction with a compact, dense circumstellar medium. The engine released ∼ 10 50 − 10 51.5 erg over ∼ 10 3 − 10 5 s and resides within lowmass fast-moving material with equatorial-polar density asymmetry (M ej,fast 0.3 M ). Successful SNe from low-mass H-rich stars (like electron-capture SNe) or failed explosions from blue supergiants satisfy these constraints. Intermediate-mass black-holes are disfavored by the large environmental density probed by the radio observations.
The Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) is a new observatory for very high-energy (VHE) gamma rays. CTA has ambitions science goals, for which it is necessary to achieve full-sky coverage, to improve the sensitivity by about an order of magnitude, to span about four decades of energy, from a few tens of GeV to above 100 TeV with enhanced angular and energy resolutions over existing VHE gamma-ray observatories. An international collaboration has formed with more than 1000 members from 27 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and North and South America. In 2010 the CTA Consortium completed a Design Study and started a three-year Preparatory Phase which leads to production readiness of CTA in 2014. In this paper we introduce the science goals and the concept of CTA, and provide an overview of the project. ?? 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved
Soft gamma repeaters (SGRs) and anomalous x-ray pulsars form a rapidly increasing group of x-ray sources exhibiting sporadic emission of short bursts. They are believed to be magnetars, that is, neutron stars powered by extreme magnetic fields, B ~ 1014 to 1015 gauss. We report on a soft gamma repeater with low magnetic field, SGR 0418+5729, recently detected after it emitted bursts similar to those of magnetars. X-ray observations show that its dipolar magnetic field cannot be greater than 7.5 × 1012 gauss, well in the range of ordinary radio pulsars, implying that a high surface dipolar magnetic field is not necessarily required for magnetar-like activity. The magnetar population may thus include objects with a wider range of B-field strengths, ages, and evolutionary stages than observed so far
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