Uncertainties in kilonova modeling

C. L. Fryer, C. J. Fontes, O. Korobkin, M. Mumpower, R. T. Wollaeger, E. Holmbeck, R. O'Shaughnessy

Published The Sixteenth Marcel Grossmann Meeting 1391-1404 (2023) (2023)

The detection of the merger of a neutron star binary in both gravitational waves and a broad spectrum of electromagnetic waves (GW170817) provided the most compelling evidence to date that such mergers produce heavy r-process elements. The inferred rate of these mergers coupled to the estimated r-process production suggests that these mergers could produce nearly all of the r-process elements in the universe. However, uncertainties in the merger rate and the amount of r-process production per merger means that scientists can not constrain the fraction of the merger r-process contribution to better than 1–100% of the total amount in the universe. The total r-process mass synthesized is best constrained by the observations themselves and uncertainties in the inferred production quantity follows from the uncertainties in modeling the emission from the NSM ejecta. In this paper, we review these modeling uncertainties.

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