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Electromagnetic emission from long-lived binary neutron star merger remnants I: formulation of the problem

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Siegel,  Daniel
Astrophysical and Cosmological Relativity, AEI-Golm, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

Ciolfi,  Riccardo
Astrophysical and Cosmological Relativity, AEI-Golm, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Siegel, D., & Ciolfi, R. (2016). Electromagnetic emission from long-lived binary neutron star merger remnants I: formulation of the problem. The Astrophysical Journal, 819: 14. doi:10.3847/0004-637X/819/1/14.


Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002B-0069-6
Abstract
Binary neutron star (BNS) mergers are the leading model to explain the phenomenology of short gamma-ray bursts (SGRBs), which are among the most luminous explosions in the universe. Recent observations of long-lasting X-ray afterglows of SGRBs challenge standard paradigms and indicate that in a large fraction of events a long-lived neutron star (NS) may be formed rather than a black hole. Understanding the mechanisms underlying these afterglows is necessary in order to address the open questions concerning the nature of SGRB central engines. However, recent theoretical progress has been hampered by the fact that the timescales of interest for the afterglow emission are inaccessible to numerical relativity simulations. Here we present a detailed model to bridge the gap between numerical simulations of the merger process and the relevant timescales for the afterglows, assuming that the merger results in a long-lived NS. This model is formulated in terms of a set of coupled differential equations that follow the evolution of the post-merger system and predict its electromagnetic (EM) emission in a self-consistent way, starting from initial data that can be extracted from BNS merger simulations and taking into account the most relevant radiative processes. Moreover, the model can accomodate the collapse of the remnant NS at any time during the evolution as well as different scenarios for the prompt SGRB emission. A second major reason of interest for BNS mergers is that they are considered the most promising source of gravitational waves (GWs) for detection with the advanced ground-based detector network LIGO/Virgo coming online this year. Multimessenger astronomy with joint EM and GW observations of the merger and post-merger phase can greatly enhance the scientific output of either type of observation. However, the actual benefit depends on ...