Nucleosynthesis, neutrino bursts and γ-rays from coalescing neutron stars

David Eichler, Mario Livio, Tsvi Piran, David N. Schramm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1391 Scopus citations

Abstract

NEUTRON-STAR collisions occur inevitably when binary neutron stars spiral into each other as a result of damping of gravitational radiation. Such collisions will produce a characteristic burst of gravitational radiation, which may be the most promising source of a detectable signal for proposed gravity-wave detectors. Such signals are sufficiently unique and robust for them to have been proposed as a means of determining the Hubble constant. However, the rate of these neutron-star collisions is highly uncertain. Here we note that such events should also synthesize neutron-rich heavy elements, thought to be formed by rapid neutron capture (the r-process). Furthermore, these collisions should produce neutrino bursts and resultant bursts of γ-rays; the latter should comprise a subclass of observable γ-ray bursts. We argue that observed r-process abundances and γ-ray-burst rates predict rates for these collisions that are both significant and consistent with other estimates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-128
Number of pages3
JournalNature
Volume340
Issue number6229
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1989

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