2,282 research outputs found

    Magnetic Interactions in Coalescing Neutron Star Binaries

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    It is expected on both evolutionary and empirical grounds that many merging neutron star (NS) binaries are composed of a highly magnetized NS in orbit with a relatively low magnetic field NS. I study the magnetic interactions of these binaries using the framework of a unipolar inductor model. The electromotive force generated across the non-magnetic NS as it moves through the magnetosphere sets up a circuit connecting the two stars. The exact features of this circuit depend on the uncertain resistance in the space between the stars R_(space). Nevertheless, I show that there are interesting observational and/or dynamical effects irrespective of its exact value. When R_(space) is large, electric dissipation as great as ~10^(46) erg s^(–1) (for magnetar-strength fields) occurs in the magnetosphere, which would exhibit itself as a hard X-ray precursor in the seconds leading up to merger. With less certainty, there may also be an associated radio transient. When R_(space) is small, electric dissipation largely occurs in the surface layers of the magnetic NS. This can reach ~10^(49) erg s^(–1) during the final ~1 s before merger, similar to the energetics and timescales of short gamma-ray bursts. In addition, for dipole fields greater than ≈10^(12) G and a small R_(space), magnetic torques spin up the magnetized NS. This drains angular momentum from the binary and accelerates the inspiral. A faster coalescence results in less orbits occurring before merger, which would impact matched-filtering gravitational-wave searches by ground-based laser interferometers and could create difficulties for studying alternative theories of gravity with compact inspirals

    Tidal Interactions in Merging White Dwarf Binaries

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    The recently discovered system J0651 is the tightest known detached white dwarf (WD) binary. Since it has not yet initiated Roche-lobe overflow, it provides a relatively clean environment for testing our understanding of tidal interactions. I investigate the tidal heating of each WD, parameterized in terms of its tidal Q parameter. Assuming that the heating can be radiated efficiently, the current luminosities are consistent with Q_1 ≈ 7 × 10^(10) and Q_2 ≈ 2 × 10^7, for the He and C/O WDs, respectively. Conversely, if the observed luminosities are merely from the cooling of the WDs, these estimated values of Q represent the upper limits. A large Q_1 for the He WD means its spin velocity will be slower than that expected if it was tidally locked, which, since the binary is eclipsing, may be measurable via the Rossiter-McLaughlin effect. After one year, gravitational wave emission shifts the time of eclipses by 5.5 s, but tidal interactions cause the orbit to shrink more rapidly, changing the time by up to an additional 0.3 s after a year. Future eclipse timing measurements may therefore infer the degree of tidal locking

    Implications from ASKAP Fast Radio Burst Statistics

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    Although there has recently been tremendous progress in studies of fast radio bursts (FRBs), the nature of their progenitors remains a mystery. We study the fluence and dispersion measure (DM) distributions of the ASKAP sample to better understand their energetics and statistics. We first consider a simplified model of a power-law volumetric rate per unit isotropic energy dN/dE ~ E^{-gamma} with a maximum energy E_max in a uniform Euclidean Universe. This provides analytic insights for what can be learnt from these distributions. We find that the observed cumulative DM distribution scales as N(>DM) ~ DM^{5-2*gamma} (for gamma > 1) until a maximum value DM_max above which bursts near E_max fall below the fluence threshold of a given telescope. Comparing this model with the observed fluence and DM distributions, we find a reasonable fit for gamma ~ 1.7 and E_max ~ 10^{33} erg/Hz. We then carry out a full Bayesian analysis based on a Schechter rate function with cosmological factor. We find roughly consistent results with our analytical approach, although with large errors on the inferred parameters due to the small sample size. The power-law index and the maximum energy are constrained to be gamma = 1.6 +/- 0.3 and log(E_max) [erg/Hz] = 34.1 +1.1 -0.7 (68% confidence), respectively. From the survey exposure time, we further infer a cumulative local volumetric rate of log N(E > 10^{32} erg/Hz) [Gpc^{-3} yr^{-1}] = 2.6 +/- 0.4 (68% confidence). The methods presented here will be useful for the much larger FRB samples expected in the near future to study their distributions, energetics, and rates.Comment: ApJ accepted. Expanded beyond the scope of the earlier version into 8 pages, 7 figures. Following referees' comments, we included a full Bayesian analysis based on a Schechter rate function with cosmological factor. The PDF of the inferred model parameters are presented by MCMC sampling in Figure 4 (the most important result). We also discussed the completeness of ASKAP sample in Section

    Supernova Fallback onto Magnetars and Propeller-powered Supernovae

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    We explore fallback accretion onto newly born magnetars during the supernova of massive stars. Strong magnetic fields (~10^(15) G) and short spin periods (~1-10 ms) have an important influence on how the magnetar interacts with the infalling material. At long spin periods, weak magnetic fields, and high accretion rates, sufficient material is accreted to form a black hole, as is commonly found for massive progenitor stars. When B ≾ 5 × 10^(14) G, accretion causes the magnetar to spin sufficiently rapidly to deform triaxially and produces gravitational waves, but only for ≈50-200 s until it collapses to a black hole. Conversely, at short spin periods, strong magnetic fields, and low accretion rates, the magnetar is in the "propeller regime" and avoids becoming a black hole by expelling incoming material. This process spins down the magnetar, so that gravitational waves are only expected if the initial protoneutron star is spinning rapidly. Even when the magnetar survives, it accretes at least ≈0.3 M_☉, so we expect magnetars born within these types of environments to be more massive than the 1.4 M_☉ typically associated with neutron stars. The propeller mechanism converts the ~10^(52)erg of spin energy in the magnetar into the kinetic energy of an outflow, which shock heats the outgoing supernova ejecta during the first ~10-30 s. For a small ~5 M_☉ hydrogen-poor envelope, this energy creates a brighter, faster evolving supernova with high ejecta velocities ~(1-3) × 10^4 km s^(–1) and may appear as a broad-lined Type Ib/c supernova. For a large ≳ 10 M_☉ hydrogen-rich envelope, the result is a bright Type IIP supernova with a plateau luminosity of ≳ 10^(43)erg s^(–1) lasting for a timescale of ~60-80 days