Radio Constraints on Long-Lived Magnetar Remnants in Short Gamma-Ray Bursts
Metzger, B. D.
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CitationFong, W., B. D. Metzger, E. Berger, and F. Özel. 2016. Radio Constraints on Long-Lived Magnetar Remnants in Short Gamma-Ray Bursts. The Astrophysical Journal 831, no. 2: 141. doi:10.3847/0004-637x/831/2/141.
AbstractThe merger of a neutron star binary may result in the formation of a rapidly-spinning magnetar. The magnetar can potentially survive for seconds or longer as a supramassive neutron star before collapsing to a black hole if, indeed, it collapses at all. During this process, a fraction of the magnetar’s rotational energy of ∼ 1053 erg is transferred via magnetic spin-down to the surrounding ejecta. The resulting interaction between the ejecta and the surrounding circumburst medium powers a & year-long synchrotron radio transient. We present a search for radio emission with the Very Large Array following nine short-duration gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) at restframe times of ≈ 1.3−7.6 years after the bursts, focusing on those events which exhibit early-time excess X-ray emission that may signify the presence of magnetars. We place upper limits of . 18 − 32µJy on the 6.0 GHz radio emission, corresponding to spectral luminosities of . (0.05 − 8.3)×1039 erg s−1. Comparing these limits to the predicted radio emission from a long-lived remnant and incorporating measurements of the circumburst densities from broad-band modeling of short GRB afterglows, we rule out a stable magnetar with an energy of 1053 erg for half of the events in our sample. A supramassive remnant that injects a lower rotational energy of 1052 erg is ruled out for a single event, GRB 050724A. This study represents the deepest and most extensive search for long-term radio emission following short GRBs to date, and thus the most stringent limits placed on the physical properties of magnetars associated with short GRBs from radio observations.
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