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      Constraining the Neutron Star Radius with Joint Gravitational-Wave and Short Gamma-Ray Burst Observations of Neutron Star-Black Hole Coalescing Binaries


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          Coalescing neutron star (NS)-black hole (BH) binaries are promising sources of gravitational-waves (GWs) to be detected within the next few years by current GW observatories. If the NS is tidally disrupted outside the BH innermost stable circular orbit, an accretion torus may form, and this could eventually power a short gamma-ray burst (SGRB). The observation of an SGRB in coincidence with gravitational radiation from an NS-BH coalescence would confirm the association between the two phenomena and also give us new insights on NS physics. We present here a new method to measure NS radii and thus constrain the NS equation of state using joint SGRB and GW observations of NS-BH mergers. We show that in the event of a joint detection with realistic GW signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) of 10, the NS radius can be constrained to \(\lesssim\,\)20% accuracy at 90% confidence.

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          The Progenitors of Short Gamma-Ray Bursts

          Recent months have witnessed dramatic progress in our understanding of SGRBs. There is now general agreement that SGRBs can produce directed outflows of relativistic matter with a kinetic luminosity exceeding by many millions that of AGN. The requirements of energy and compactness indicate that SGRB activity can be ascribed to a modest fraction of a solar mass of gas accreting onto a stellar mass BH or to a precursor stage leading inevitably to such an object. Scenarios involving the birth of a rapidly rotating NS, or an accreting BH in a merging binary driven by gravitational waves are reviewed, along with possible alternatives (collisions or collapse of compact objects). If a BH lies at the center of this activity, the fundamental pathways through which mass, angular momentum and energy can flow around and away from it play a key role in understanding how these prime movers can form collimated relativistic outflows. Hypercritical flows near BHs, where photons cannot supply the cooling, but neutrinos do so efficiently, are discussed in detail, and we believe that they offer the best hope of understanding the central engine. On the other hand, statistical investigations of SGRB niches provide valuable information on their nature and evolutionary behavior. In addition, compelling evidence now points to the continuous fueling of SGRB sources. We suggest that the observed late flaring activity could be due to a secondary accretion episode induced by the fall back of material stripped from a compact object during a merger or collision. Important open questions are identified, along with the types of observation that would discriminate among various models. SGRB jets may be one of the few observable consequences of how flows near nuclear density behave under the influence of strong gravitational fields. (abridged)

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            21 August 2018


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            14 pages, 10 figures, 1 table. Submitted to ApJ
            astro-ph.HE gr-qc


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