On the nature of GW190814 and its impact on the understanding of supranuclear matter

Ingo Tews, Peter T.H. Pang, Tim Dietrich, Michael W. Coughlin, Sarah Antier, Mattia Bulla, Jack Heinzel, Lina Issa

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The observation of a compact object with a mass of 2.50-2.67Me on 2019 August 14, by the LIGO Scientific and Virgo collaborations (LVC) has the potential to improve our understanding of the supranuclear equation of state. While the gravitational-wave analysis of the LVC suggests that GW190814 likely was a binary black hole system, the secondary component could also have been the heaviest neutron star observed to date. We use our previously derived nuclear-physics-multimessenger astrophysics framework to address the nature of this object. Based on our findings, we determine GW190814 to be a binary black hole merger with a probability of >99.9%. Even if we weaken previously employed constraints on the maximum mass of neutron stars, the probability of a binary black hole origin is still ∼81%. Furthermore, we study the impact that this observation has on our understanding of the nuclear equation of state by analyzing the allowed region in the mass-radius diagram of neutron stars for both a binary black hole or neutron star-black hole scenario. We find that the unlikely scenario in which the secondary object was a neutron star requires rather stiff equations of state with a maximum speed of sound cs ≥0.6 times the speed of light, while the binary black hole scenario does not offer any new insight.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL1
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 10 2021

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  • Gravitational waves (678)
  • Neutron star cores (1107)
  • Neutron stars (1108)
  • Nuclear astrophysics (1129)
  • Nuclear physics (2077)
  • Stellar mergers (2157)
  • Unified Astronomy Thesaurus concepts: Compact objects (288)


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