INTEGRAL search for GW counterparts and the GRB170817A/GW170817 detection

Abstract

The INTernational Gamma-ray Astrophysics Laboratory (INTEGRAL) has detected the Short Gamma-Ray Burst (SGRB), GRB170817A with a signal-to-noise ratio of 4.6 and demonstrated its association with the binary neutron star merging event GW170817 detected by the LIGO and Virgo gravitational wave observatories. The association was immediately evident due to the timing and positional coincidence of this event with the initial error box, derived from gravitational wave (GW) measurements and the contemporaneous detection of a similar gamma-ray signal by Fermi/GBM. This SGRB was detected by the INTEGRAL SPI ACS about 1.7 s after the end of the GW emission, with a fluence of (\(1.4 \pm 0.4\)) \(\times 10^{-7} \text { erg cm}^{-2}\) in the 75–2000 keV energy range. After the serendipitous detection of the short prompt GRB, INTEGRAL continued the planned observation for about 20 h, and then performed a targeted follow-up ToO observation lasting several days. This ToO observation provided a stringent upper limit on any electromagnetic signal in a very broad energy range, from 3 keV to 8 MeV, in particular constraining the soft gamma-ray afterglow flux to \(< 7.1 \times ^{-11} \text { erg cm}^{-2} \text { s}^{-1}\) in the range 80–300 keV. Exploiting the unique capabilities of INTEGRAL, we constrained the gamma-ray line emission intensity from radioactive decays expected to be the principal source of the energy behind a kilonova event following a NS–NS coalescence. Finally, we put a stringent upper limit on any delayed bursting activity, for example, from a newly formed magnetar. The INTEGRAL prompt detection and the subsequent continuous observations at all wavelengths have provided important constraints on the high energy emission of the resulting kilonova and the post inspiral object: NS, BH, or a new exotic object.

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Acknowledgements

This work is based on observations with INTEGRAL, an ESA project with instruments and science data center funded by ESA member states (especially the PI countries: Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Spain), and with the participation of Russia and the USA. The INTEGRAL SPI project has been completed under the responsibility and leadership of CNES. The SPI ACS detector system has been provided by MPE Garching/Germany. The SPI team is grateful to ASI, CEA, CNES, DLR, ESA, INTA, NASA, and OSTC for their support. The Italian INTEGRAL team acknowledges the support of ASI/INAF agreement No. 2013-025-R.1. R.D. and A.v.K. acknowledge the German INTEGRAL support through DLR Grant 50 OG 1101. A.L. and R.S. acknowledge the support from the Russian Science Foundation (Grant 14-22-00271). A.D. is funded by Spanish MINECO/FEDER Grant ESP2015-65712-C5-1-R. We acknowledge the continuous support by the INTEGRAL Users Group and the exceptionally efficient support by the teams at ESAC and ESOC for the scheduling of the targeted follow-up observations.

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Correspondence to Pietro Ubertini.

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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.

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Ubertini, P., Bazzano, A., Natalucci, L. et al. INTEGRAL search for GW counterparts and the GRB170817A/GW170817 detection. Rend. Fis. Acc. Lincei 30, 65–70 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12210-019-00767-y

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Keywords

  • GW170817
  • GRB170817A
  • Gravitational waves
  • Neutron star inspiral
  • Gamma ray counterpart