Oct 18, 2022

Optical superluminal motion measurement in the neutron-star merger GW170817

Posted by in category: space

The afterglow of the binary neutron-star merger GW1708171 gave evidence for a structured relativistic jet2–6 and a link3,7,8 between such mergers and short gamma-ray bursts. Superluminal motion, found using radio very long baseline interferometry3 (VLBI), together with the afterglow light curve provided constraints on the viewing angle (14–28 degrees), the opening angle of the jet core (less than 5 degrees) and a modest limit on the initial Lorentz factor of the jet core (more than 4). Here we report on another superluminal motion measurement, at seven times the speed of light, leveraging Hubble Space Telescope precision astrometry and previous radio VLBI data for GW170817.

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