The first detected radio flare from a merger of two Neutron Stars

2 July 2020

The merger of pairs of neutron stars affords an opportunity study the nuclear physics of degenerate matter, the formation of heavy elements (via the “r-process”), and other phenomena. The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) has detected the gravitational wave emission from neutron star mergers, with the first detection in 2017. A critical aspect of studying these events is the detection of electromagnetic counterparts to the gravitational wave emission, including radio emission. In a preprint posted today we re-visit a radio transient from 1993 and argue that the evolution of the radio emission is consistent with being the emission of ejecta from a neutron star merger. This would make it the first electromagnetic detection of a neutron star merger.