1932

Abstract

We describe the first observations of the same celestial object with gravitational waves and light.

  • ▪   GW170817 was the first detection of a neutron star merger with gravitational waves.
  • ▪   The detection of a spatially coincident weak burst of gamma-rays (GRB 170817A) 1.7 s after the merger constituted the first electromagnetic detection of a gravitational wave source and established a connection between at least some cosmic short gamma-ray bursts (SGRBs) and binary neutron star mergers.
  • ▪   A fast-evolving optical and near-infrared transient (AT 2017gfo) associated with the event can be interpreted as resulting from the ejection of ∼0.05 M of material enriched in -process elements, finally establishing binary neutron star mergers as at least one source of -process nucleosynthesis.
  • ▪   Radio and X-ray observations revealed a long-rising source that peaked ∼160,d after the merger. Combined with the apparent superluminal motion of the associated very long baseline interferometry source, these observations show that the merger produced a relativistic structured jet whose core was oriented ≈20 deg from the line of sight and with properties similar to SGRBs. The jet structure likely results from interaction between the jet and the merger ejecta.
  • ▪   The electromagnetic and gravitational wave information can be combined to produce constraints on the expansion rate of the Universe and the equation of state of dense nuclear matter. These multimessenger endeavors will be a major emphasis of future work.

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2021-09-08
2024-06-21
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