Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 368, 1489-1499 (2006/June-1)
Torus formation in neutron star mergers and well-localized short gamma-ray bursts.
OECHSLIN R. and JANKA H.-T.
Abstract (from CDS):
Merging neutron stars (NSs) are hot candidates for the still enigmatic sources of short gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). If the central engines of the huge energy release are accreting relic black holes (BHs) of such mergers, it is important to understand how the properties of the BH-torus systems, in particular disc masses and mass and rotation rate of the compact remnant, are linked to the characterizing parameters of the NS binaries. For this purpose, we present relativistic smoothed particle hydrodynamic simulations with conformally flat approximation of the Einstein field equations and a physical, non-zero temperature equation of state. Thick disc formation is highlighted as a dynamical process caused by angular momentum transfer through tidal torques during the merging process of asymmetric systems or in the rapidly spinning triaxial post-merger object. Our simulations support the possibility that the first well-localized short and hard GRBs 050509b, 050709, 050724, 050813 have originated from NS merger events and are powered by neutrino-antineutrino annihilation around a relic BH-torus system. Using model parameters based on this assumption, we show that the measured GRB energies and durations lead to estimates for the accreted masses and BH mass accretion rates which are compatible with theoretical expectations. In particular, the low-energy output and short duration of GRB 050509b set a very strict upper limit of less than 100 ms for the time interval after the merging until the merger remnant has collapsed to a BH, leaving an accretion torus with a small mass of only ∼0.01M☉. This favours a (nearly) symmetric NS+NS binary with a typical mass as progenitor system.