Multi-messenger observations of a binary neutron star merger Article

Abbott, BP, Abbott, R, Abbott, TD et al. (2017). Multi-messenger observations of a binary neutron star merger . ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL LETTERS, 848(2), 10.3847/2041-8213/aa91c9

cited authors

  • Abbott, BP; Abbott, R; Abbott, TD; Acernese, F; Ackley, K; Adams, C; Adams, T; Addesso, P; Adhikari, RX; Adya, VB; Affeldt, C; Afrough, M; Agarwal, B; Agathos, M; Agatsuma, K; Aggarwal, N; Aguiar, OD; Aiello, L; Ain, A; Ajith, P; Allen, B; Allen, G; Allocca, A; Altin, PA; Amato, A; Ananyeva, A; Anderson, SB; Anderson, WG; Angelova, SV; Antier, S; Appert, S; Arai, K; Araya, MC; Areeda, JS; Arnaud, N; Arun, KG; Ascenzi, S; Ashton, G; Ast, M; Aston, SM; Astone, P; Atallah, DV; Aufmuth, P; Aulbert, C; AultONeal, K; Austin, C; Avila-Alvarez, A; Babak, S; Bacon, P; Bader, MKM; Bae, S; Baker, PT; Baldaccini, F; Ballardin, G; Ballmer, SW; Banagiri, S; Barayoga, JC; Barclay, SE; Barish, BC; Barker, D; Barkett, K; Barone, F; Barr, B; Barsotti, L; Barsuglia, M; Barta, D; Barthelmy, SD; Bartlett, J; Bartos, I; Bassiri, R; Basti, A; Batch, JC; Bawaj, M; Bayley, JC; Bazzan, M; Bécsy, B; Beer, C; Bejger, M; Belahcene, I; Bell, AS; Berger, BK; Bergmann, G; Bero, JJ; Berry, CPL; Bersanetti, D; Bertolini, A; Betzwieser, J; Bhagwat, S; Bhandare, R; Bilenko, IA; Billingsley, G; Billman, CR; Birch, J; Birney, R; Birnholtz, O; Biscans, S; Biscoveanu, S; Bisht, A; Bitossi, M; Biwer, C


  • On 2017 August 17 a binary neutron star coalescence candidate (later designated GW170817) with merger time 12:41:04 UTC was observed through gravitational waves by the Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo detectors. The Fermi Gamma-ray Burst Monitor independently detected a gamma-ray burst (GRB 170817A) with a time delay of ~1.7 s with respect to the merger time. From the gravitational-wave signal, the source was initially localized to a sky region of 31 deg2 at a luminosity distance of 40-+88 Mpc and with component masses consistent with neutron stars. The component masses were later measured to be in the range 0.86 to 2.26 M☉. An extensive observing campaign was launched across the electromagnetic spectrum leading to the discovery of a bright optical transient (SSS17a, now with the IAU identification of AT 2017gfo) in NGC 4993 (at ~40 Mpc) less than 11 hours after the merger by the One-Meter, Two Hemisphere (1M2H) team using the 1 m Swope Telescope. The optical transient was independently detected by multiple teams within an hour. Subsequent observations targeted the object and its environment. Early ultraviolet observations revealed a blue transient that faded within 48 hours. Optical and infrared observations showed a redward evolution over ∼10 days. Following early non-detections, X-ray and radio emission were discovered at the transient's position ~9 and ~16 days, respectively, after the merger. Both the X-ray and radio emission likely arise from a physical process that is distinct from the one that generates the UV/optical/near-infrared emission. No ultra-high-energy gamma-rays and no neutrino candidates consistent with the source were found in follow-up searches. These observations support the hypothesis that GW170817 was produced by the merger of two neutron stars in NGC 4993 followed by a short gamma-ray burst (GRB 170817A) and a kilonova/macronova powered by the radioactive decay of r-process nuclei synthesized in the ejecta.

publication date

  • January 1, 2017

published in

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


  • 848


  • 2