A Precise Distance to the Host Galaxy of the Binary Neutron Star Merger GW170817 Using Surface Brightness Fluctuations

Michele Cantiello, J. B. Jensen, J. P. Blakeslee, E. Berger, A. J. Levan, N. R. Tanvir, G. Raimondo, E. Brocato, K. D. Alexander, P. K. Blanchard, M. Branchesi, Z. Cano, R. Chornock, S. Covino, P. S. Cowperthwaite, P. D'Avanzo, T. Eftekhari, W. Fong, A. S. Fruchter, A. Grado & 8 others J. Hjorth, D. E. Holz, J. D. Lyman, I. Mandel, R. Margutti, M. Nicholl, V. A. Villar, P. K.G. Williams

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Abstract

The joint detection of gravitational waves (GWs) and electromagnetic radiation from the binary neutron star (BNS) merger GW170817 has provided unprecedented insight into a wide range of physical processes: heavy element synthesis via the r-process; the production of relativistic ejecta; the equation of state of neutron stars and the nature of the merger remnant; the binary coalescence timescale; and a measurement of the Hubble constant via the "standard siren" technique. In detail, all of these results depend on the distance to the host galaxy of the merger event, NGC 4993. In this Letter we measure the surface brightness fluctuation (SBF) distance to NGC 4993 in the F110W and F160W passbands of the Wide Field Camera 3 Infrared Channel (WFC3/IR) on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). For the preferred F110W passband we derive a distance modulus of mag, or a linear distance d = 40.7 ±1.4 ±1.9 Mpc (random and systematic errors, respectively); a virtually identical result is obtained from the F160W data. This is the most precise distance to NGC 4993 available to date. Combining our distance measurement with the corrected recession velocity of NGC 4993 implies a Hubble constant H 0 = 71.9 ±7.1 km s-1 Mpc-1. A comparison of our result to the GW-inferred value of H 0 indicates a binary orbital inclination of i 137°. The SBF technique can be applied to early-type host galaxies of BNS mergers to ∼100 Mpc with HST and possibly as far as ∼300 Mpc with the James Webb Space Telescope, thereby helping to break the inherent distance-inclination degeneracy of the GW data at distances where many future BNS mergers are likely to be detected.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL31
Number of pages7
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Volume854
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2018

Keywords

  • galaxies: distances and redshifts
  • galaxies: fundamental parameters
  • galaxies: individual (NGC 4993)

Cite this

Cantiello, M., Jensen, J. B., Blakeslee, J. P., Berger, E., Levan, A. J., Tanvir, N. R., ... Williams, P. K. G. (2018). A Precise Distance to the Host Galaxy of the Binary Neutron Star Merger GW170817 Using Surface Brightness Fluctuations. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 854(2), [L31]. https://doi.org/10.3847/2041-8213/aaad64
Cantiello, Michele ; Jensen, J. B. ; Blakeslee, J. P. ; Berger, E. ; Levan, A. J. ; Tanvir, N. R. ; Raimondo, G. ; Brocato, E. ; Alexander, K. D. ; Blanchard, P. K. ; Branchesi, M. ; Cano, Z. ; Chornock, R. ; Covino, S. ; Cowperthwaite, P. S. ; D'Avanzo, P. ; Eftekhari, T. ; Fong, W. ; Fruchter, A. S. ; Grado, A. ; Hjorth, J. ; Holz, D. E. ; Lyman, J. D. ; Mandel, I. ; Margutti, R. ; Nicholl, M. ; Villar, V. A. ; Williams, P. K.G. / A Precise Distance to the Host Galaxy of the Binary Neutron Star Merger GW170817 Using Surface Brightness Fluctuations. In: Astrophysical Journal Letters. 2018 ; Vol. 854, No. 2.
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abstract = "The joint detection of gravitational waves (GWs) and electromagnetic radiation from the binary neutron star (BNS) merger GW170817 has provided unprecedented insight into a wide range of physical processes: heavy element synthesis via the r-process; the production of relativistic ejecta; the equation of state of neutron stars and the nature of the merger remnant; the binary coalescence timescale; and a measurement of the Hubble constant via the {"}standard siren{"} technique. In detail, all of these results depend on the distance to the host galaxy of the merger event, NGC 4993. In this Letter we measure the surface brightness fluctuation (SBF) distance to NGC 4993 in the F110W and F160W passbands of the Wide Field Camera 3 Infrared Channel (WFC3/IR) on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). For the preferred F110W passband we derive a distance modulus of mag, or a linear distance d = 40.7 ±1.4 ±1.9 Mpc (random and systematic errors, respectively); a virtually identical result is obtained from the F160W data. This is the most precise distance to NGC 4993 available to date. Combining our distance measurement with the corrected recession velocity of NGC 4993 implies a Hubble constant H 0 = 71.9 ±7.1 km s-1 Mpc-1. A comparison of our result to the GW-inferred value of H 0 indicates a binary orbital inclination of i 137°. The SBF technique can be applied to early-type host galaxies of BNS mergers to ∼100 Mpc with HST and possibly as far as ∼300 Mpc with the James Webb Space Telescope, thereby helping to break the inherent distance-inclination degeneracy of the GW data at distances where many future BNS mergers are likely to be detected.",
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Cantiello, M, Jensen, JB, Blakeslee, JP, Berger, E, Levan, AJ, Tanvir, NR, Raimondo, G, Brocato, E, Alexander, KD, Blanchard, PK, Branchesi, M, Cano, Z, Chornock, R, Covino, S, Cowperthwaite, PS, D'Avanzo, P, Eftekhari, T, Fong, W, Fruchter, AS, Grado, A, Hjorth, J, Holz, DE, Lyman, JD, Mandel, I, Margutti, R, Nicholl, M, Villar, VA & Williams, PKG 2018, 'A Precise Distance to the Host Galaxy of the Binary Neutron Star Merger GW170817 Using Surface Brightness Fluctuations', Astrophysical Journal Letters, vol. 854, no. 2, L31. https://doi.org/10.3847/2041-8213/aaad64

A Precise Distance to the Host Galaxy of the Binary Neutron Star Merger GW170817 Using Surface Brightness Fluctuations. / Cantiello, Michele; Jensen, J. B.; Blakeslee, J. P.; Berger, E.; Levan, A. J.; Tanvir, N. R.; Raimondo, G.; Brocato, E.; Alexander, K. D.; Blanchard, P. K.; Branchesi, M.; Cano, Z.; Chornock, R.; Covino, S.; Cowperthwaite, P. S.; D'Avanzo, P.; Eftekhari, T.; Fong, W.; Fruchter, A. S.; Grado, A.; Hjorth, J.; Holz, D. E.; Lyman, J. D.; Mandel, I.; Margutti, R.; Nicholl, M.; Villar, V. A.; Williams, P. K.G.

In: Astrophysical Journal Letters, Vol. 854, No. 2, L31, 20.02.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - A Precise Distance to the Host Galaxy of the Binary Neutron Star Merger GW170817 Using Surface Brightness Fluctuations

AU - Cantiello, Michele

AU - Jensen, J. B.

AU - Blakeslee, J. P.

AU - Berger, E.

AU - Levan, A. J.

AU - Tanvir, N. R.

AU - Raimondo, G.

AU - Brocato, E.

AU - Alexander, K. D.

AU - Blanchard, P. K.

AU - Branchesi, M.

AU - Cano, Z.

AU - Chornock, R.

AU - Covino, S.

AU - Cowperthwaite, P. S.

AU - D'Avanzo, P.

AU - Eftekhari, T.

AU - Fong, W.

AU - Fruchter, A. S.

AU - Grado, A.

AU - Hjorth, J.

AU - Holz, D. E.

AU - Lyman, J. D.

AU - Mandel, I.

AU - Margutti, R.

AU - Nicholl, M.

AU - Villar, V. A.

AU - Williams, P. K.G.

PY - 2018/2/20

Y1 - 2018/2/20

N2 - The joint detection of gravitational waves (GWs) and electromagnetic radiation from the binary neutron star (BNS) merger GW170817 has provided unprecedented insight into a wide range of physical processes: heavy element synthesis via the r-process; the production of relativistic ejecta; the equation of state of neutron stars and the nature of the merger remnant; the binary coalescence timescale; and a measurement of the Hubble constant via the "standard siren" technique. In detail, all of these results depend on the distance to the host galaxy of the merger event, NGC 4993. In this Letter we measure the surface brightness fluctuation (SBF) distance to NGC 4993 in the F110W and F160W passbands of the Wide Field Camera 3 Infrared Channel (WFC3/IR) on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). For the preferred F110W passband we derive a distance modulus of mag, or a linear distance d = 40.7 ±1.4 ±1.9 Mpc (random and systematic errors, respectively); a virtually identical result is obtained from the F160W data. This is the most precise distance to NGC 4993 available to date. Combining our distance measurement with the corrected recession velocity of NGC 4993 implies a Hubble constant H 0 = 71.9 ±7.1 km s-1 Mpc-1. A comparison of our result to the GW-inferred value of H 0 indicates a binary orbital inclination of i 137°. The SBF technique can be applied to early-type host galaxies of BNS mergers to ∼100 Mpc with HST and possibly as far as ∼300 Mpc with the James Webb Space Telescope, thereby helping to break the inherent distance-inclination degeneracy of the GW data at distances where many future BNS mergers are likely to be detected.

AB - The joint detection of gravitational waves (GWs) and electromagnetic radiation from the binary neutron star (BNS) merger GW170817 has provided unprecedented insight into a wide range of physical processes: heavy element synthesis via the r-process; the production of relativistic ejecta; the equation of state of neutron stars and the nature of the merger remnant; the binary coalescence timescale; and a measurement of the Hubble constant via the "standard siren" technique. In detail, all of these results depend on the distance to the host galaxy of the merger event, NGC 4993. In this Letter we measure the surface brightness fluctuation (SBF) distance to NGC 4993 in the F110W and F160W passbands of the Wide Field Camera 3 Infrared Channel (WFC3/IR) on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). For the preferred F110W passband we derive a distance modulus of mag, or a linear distance d = 40.7 ±1.4 ±1.9 Mpc (random and systematic errors, respectively); a virtually identical result is obtained from the F160W data. This is the most precise distance to NGC 4993 available to date. Combining our distance measurement with the corrected recession velocity of NGC 4993 implies a Hubble constant H 0 = 71.9 ±7.1 km s-1 Mpc-1. A comparison of our result to the GW-inferred value of H 0 indicates a binary orbital inclination of i 137°. The SBF technique can be applied to early-type host galaxies of BNS mergers to ∼100 Mpc with HST and possibly as far as ∼300 Mpc with the James Webb Space Telescope, thereby helping to break the inherent distance-inclination degeneracy of the GW data at distances where many future BNS mergers are likely to be detected.

KW - galaxies: distances and redshifts

KW - galaxies: fundamental parameters

KW - galaxies: individual (NGC 4993)

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U2 - 10.3847/2041-8213/aaad64

DO - 10.3847/2041-8213/aaad64

M3 - Article

VL - 854

JO - The Astrophysical Journal Letters

JF - The Astrophysical Journal Letters

SN - 2041-8205

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