Rochester Institute of Technology

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General relativistic magnetohydrodynamic simulations of binary neutron star mergers forming a long-lived neutron star
By Riccardo Ciolfi, Wolfgang Kastaun, Bruno Giacomazzo, Andrea Endrizzi, Daniel M. Siegel, Rosalba Perna
Published in Physical Review D 95, 063016 (Monday, March 27, 2017)


Merging binary neutron stars (BNSs) represent the ultimate targets for multimessenger astronomy, being among the most promising sources of gravitational waves (GWs), and, at the same time, likely accompanied by a variety of electromagnetic counterparts across the entire spectrum, possibly including short gamma-ray bursts (SGRBs) and kilonova/macronova transients. Numerical relativity simulations play a central role in the study of these events. In particular, given the importance of magnetic fields, various aspects of this investigation require general relativistic magnetohydrodynamics (GRMHD). So far, most GRMHD simulations focused the attention on BNS mergers leading to the formation of a hypermassive neutron star (NS), which, in turn, collapses within few tens of ms into a black hole surrounded by an accretion disk. However, recent observations suggest that a significant fraction of these systems could form a long-lived NS remnant, which will either collapse on much longer time scales or remain indefinitely stable. Despite the profound implications for the evolution and the emission properties of the system, a detailed investigation of this alternative evolution channel is still missing. Here, we follow this direction and present a first detailed GRMHD study of BNS mergers forming a long-lived NS. We consider magnetized binaries with different mass ratios and equations of state and analyze the structure of the NS remnants, the rotation profiles, the accretion disks, the evolution and amplification of magnetic fields, and the ejection of matter. Moreover, we discuss the connection with the central engine of SGRBs and provide order-of-magnitude estimates for the kilonova/macronova signal. Finally, we study the GW emission, with particular attention to the post-merger phase.