The discovery of the GW signal from the merging of two neutron stars (GW170817) and the detection of related electromagnetic radiations, namely a short GRB, an optical transient (kilonova) and a late afterglow emission at X-ray and radio wavelengths, opened the new era of multi-messenger astrophysics. I will briefly review the history of this discovery with an emphasis on the results of the optical/near-infrared follow-up. The lesson learned is used to get prepared for the forthcoming LIGO/Virgo runs.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Abadie J, Abbott BP, Abbott R (2010) TOPICAL REVIEW: predictions for the rates of compact binary coalescences observable by ground-based gravitational-wave detectors. Class Quantum Gravity 27:173001
Abbott BP, Abbott R, Abbott TD (2016) The rate of binary black hole mergers inferred from advanced LIGO observations surrounding GW150914. Astrophys J Lett 833:L1
Abbott BP, Abbott R, Abbott TD (2016) Localization and broadband follow-up of the gravitational-wave transient GW150914. Astrophys J Lett 826:L13
Abbott BP, Abbott R, Abbott TD (2017) Gravitational waves and Gamma-rays from a binary neutron star merger: GW170817 and GRB 170817A. Astrophys J Lett 848:L13
Alexander KD, Berger E, Fong W (2017) The electromagnetic counterpart of the binary neutron star merger LIGO/Virgo GW170817. VI. Radio constraints on a relativistic jet and predictions for late-time emission from the kilonova ejecta. Astrophys J Lett 848:L21
Brocato E, Branchesi M, Cappellaro E (2018) GRAWITA: VLT survey telescope observations of the gravitational wave sources GW150914 and GW151226. MNRAS 474:411
Coulter DA, Foley RJ, Kilpatrick CD et al (2017) Swope Supernova Survey 2017a (SSS17a), the optical counterpart to a gravitational wave source. Science 358:1556
Covino S, Wiersema K, Fan YZ (2017) The unpolarized macronova associated with the gravitational wave event GW 170817. Nat Astron 1:791
Drout MR, Piro AL, Shappee BJ (2017) Light curves of the neutron star merger GW170817/SSS17a: implications for r-process nucleosynthesis. Science 358:1570
Gossan SE, Sutton P, Stuver A (2016) Observing gravitational waves from core-collapse supernovae in the advanced detector era. Phys Rev D 93:042002
Hallinan G, Corsi A, Mooley KP et al (2017) A radio counterpart to a neutron star merger. Science 358:1579
Kasen D, Badnell NR, Barnes J (2013) Opacities and spectra of the r-process ejecta from neutron star mergers. Astrophys J 774:25
Kasen D, Metzger B, Barnes J (2017) Origin of the heavy elements in binary neutron-star mergers from a gravitational-wave event. Nature 551:80
Lazzati D, López-Cámara D, Cantiello M (2017) Off-axis prompt X-ray transients from the cocoon of short Gamma-ray bursts. Astrophys J 848:L6
Margutti R, Alexander KD, Xie X (2018) The binary neutron star event LIGO/Virgo GW170817 160 days after merger: synchrotron emission across the electromagnetic spectrum. Astrophys J Lett 856:L18
Metzger BD (2017) Kilonovae. arXiv:1710.05931
Mooley KP, Deller AT, Gottlieb O et al (2018) Superluminal motion of a relativistic jet in the neutron-star merger GW170817. Nature 561:355
Perna R, Lazzati D, Giacomazzo B (2016) Short Gamma-ray bursts from the merger of two black holes. Astrophys J Lett 821:L18
Pian E, D’Avanzo P, Benetti S (2017) Spectroscopic identification of r-process nucleosynthesis in a double neutron-star merger. Nature 551:67
Shappee BJ, Simon JD, Drout MR (2017) Early spectra of the gravitational wave source GW170817: evolution of a neutron star merger. Science 358:1574
Smartt SJ, Chen T-W, Jerkstrand A (2017) A kilonova as the electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational-wave source. Nature 551:75
Tanaka M, Utsumi Y, Mazzali PA et al (2017) Kilonova from post-merger ejecta as an optical and near-Infrared counterpart of GW170817. PASJ 69:102
Troja E, Piro L, van Eerten H (2017) The X-ray counterpart to the gravitational-wave event GW170817. Nature 551:71
Valenti S, Sand DJ, Yang S (2017) The discovery of the electromagnetic counterpart of GW170817: lilonova AT 2017gfo/DLT17ck. Astrophys J Lett 848:L24
Villar VA, Guillochon J, Berger E (2017) The combined ultraviolet, optical, and near-infrared light curves of the kilonova associated with the binary neutron star merger GW170817: unified data set, analytic models, and physical implications. Astrophys J Lett 851:L21
This paper is the peer-reviewed version of a contribution selected among those presented at the Conference on Gamma-Ray Astrophysics with the AGILE Satellite held at Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei and Agenzia Spaziale Italiana, Rome, on December 11–13, 2017.
On behalf of the GRAWITA collaboration (http://grawita.inaf.it).
About this article
Cite this article
Cappellaro, E. Discovery of a kilonova and prospects for future hunts. Rend. Fis. Acc. Lincei 30, 79–83 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12210-019-00758-z
- Gravitational waves
- Stars: neutron
- Individual: AT2017gfo