Pair Fireball Precursors of Neutron Star Mergers

24 Jun 2016  ·  Metzger Brian D., Zivancev Charles ·

If at least one neutron star (NS) is magnetized in a binary NS merger, then the orbital motion of the conducting companion during the final inspiral induces a strong voltage and current along the magnetic field lines connecting the NSs. If a modest fraction, eta, of the extracted electromagnetic power extracted accelerates relativistic particles, the resulting gamma-ray emission a compact volume will result in the formation of an electron-positron pair fireball... Applying a steady-state pair wind model, we quantify the detectability of the precursor fireball with gamma-ray satellites. For eta ~ 1 the gamma-ray detection horizon of D_max ~ 10(Bd/1e14 G)^{3/4} Mpc is much closer than the Advanced LIGO/Virgo horizon of 200 Mpc, unless the NS surface magnetic field strength is very large, Bd > 1e15 G. Given the quasi-isotropic nature of the emission, mergers with weaker NS fields could contribute a nearby population of short gamma-ray bursts. Power not dissipated close to the binary is carried to infinity along the open field lines by a large scale Poynting flux. Reconnection within this outflow, well outside of the pair photosphere, provides a potential site for non-thermal emission, such as a coherent millisecond radio burst. read more

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High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology