Gamma-ray burst afterglow plateaus and gravitational waves: Multi-messenger signature of a millisecond magnetar?

Alessandra Corsi, Peter Mészros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations

Abstract

The existence of a shallow decay phase in the early X-ray afterglows of gamma-ray bursts is a common feature. Here we investigate the possibility that this is connected to the formation of a highly magnetized millisecond pulsar, pumping energy into the fireball on timescales longer than the prompt emission. In this scenario, the nascent neutron star could undergo a secular bar-mode instability, leading to gravitational wave losses which would affect the neutron star spin-down. In this case, nearby gamma-ray bursts with isotropic energies of the order of 1050 ergs would produce a detectable gravitational wave signal emitted in association with an observed X-ray light-curve plateau, over relatively long timescales of minutes to about an hour. The peak amplitude of the gravitational wave signal would be delayed with respect to the gamma-ray burst trigger, offering gravitational wave interferometers such as the advanced LIGO and Virgo the challenging possibility of catching its signature on the fly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1171-1178
Number of pages8
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume702
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2009

Keywords

  • Gamma rays: bursts
  • Gravitational waves
  • Radiation mechanisms: non-thermal

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