Project: GEE - Gravitational and electromagnetic emission from binary neutron star mergers: from coalescence to jet formation

Prace Call: 17th
ID: 2018184459, Leader: Carlos Palenzuela
Affiliation: Universitat de les Illes Balears, ES
Research Field: Universe Sciences
Resource Awarded: 15.3 Mil. core hours on MareNostrum


The recent direct detection of gravitational waves through interferometric observatories opens a new window to study the coalescence of binary neutron stars, which can be regarded as unique astrophysical laboratories to study gravity, plasma physics and dense matter under very extreme conditions. Concurrent observations of gravitational and electromagnetic waves produced by these sources start a new era of multi-messenger astronomy that will enhance our understanding on the parameters of the system and the physical processes at play, allowing us to test our theories and validate our astrophysical models. The project proposed here is based on the study of the full dynamics of magnetized binary neutron star mergers through extremely accurate numerical simulations, focusing on the physical mechanisms that are most relevant for the formation of detectable electromagnetic signals like short Gamma-Ray Bursts and kilonovae. Our simulations will focus on the different processes and instabilities increasing the strength of the magnetic field during the merger, as well as its conversion from small to large scales through a dynamo mechanism. Our results will allow us to study the effects of these strong magnetic fields on the electromagnetic signatures coming from the binary coalescence after the merger, affected at least by two different processes: (i) magnetic fields transfer angular momentum quite efficiently, accelerating the collapse to a black hole of the hyper-massive neutron star produced during the merger, and (ii) large scale magnetic fields are an essential ingredient for the jet formation. The proposed activities belong to an on-going multidisciplinary program that matches the intense theoretical and observational upcoming activities following the first gravitational wave detections of binary neutron stars and will allow us to maximize the scientific outcome of the upcoming data made soon available by the upgraded and new gravitational wave detectors.