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Journal Article

End-to-end kilonova models of neutron star mergers with delayed black hole formation


Janka,  H.-Th.
Stellar Astrophysics, MPI for Astrophysics, Max Planck Society;

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Just, O., Vijayan, V., Xiong, Z., Goriely, S., Soultanis, T., Bauswein, A., et al. (2023). End-to-end kilonova models of neutron star mergers with delayed black hole formation. The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 951(1): L12. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/acdad2.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000D-E4AE-E
We investigate the nucleosynthesis and kilonova properties of binary neutron star (NS) merger models that lead to intermediate remnant lifetimes of ∼0.1–1 s until black hole (BH) formation and describe all components of the material ejected during the dynamical merger phase, NS remnant evolution, and final viscous disintegration of the BH torus after gravitational collapse. To this end, we employ a combination of hydrodynamics, nucleosynthesis, and radiative transfer tools to achieve a consistent end-to-end modeling of the system and its observables. We adopt a novel version of the Shakura–Sunyaev scheme allowing the approximate turbulent viscosity inside the NS remnant to vary independently of the surrounding disk. We find that asymmetric progenitors lead to shorter remnant lifetimes and enhanced ejecta masses, although the viscosity affects the absolute values of these characteristics. The integrated production of lanthanides and heavier elements in such binary systems is subsolar, suggesting that the considered scenarios contribute in a subdominant fashion to r-process enrichment. One reason is that BH tori formed after delayed collapse exhibit less neutron-rich conditions than typically found, and often assumed in previous BH torus models, for early BH formation. The outflows in our models feature strong anisotropy as a result of the lanthanide-poor polar neutrino-driven wind pushing aside lanthanide-rich dynamical ejecta. Considering the complexity of the models, the estimated kilonova light curves show promising agreement with AT 2017gfo after times of several days, while the remaining inconsistencies at early times could possibly be overcome in binary configurations with a more dominant neutrino-driven wind relative to the dynamical ejecta.