A Decline in the X-Ray through Radio Emission from GW170817 Continues to Support an Off-axis Structured Jet

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gravitational waves, relativistic processes


© 2018. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. We present new observations of the binary neutron star merger GW170817 at Δt ≈ 220-290 days post-merger, at radio (Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array; VLA), X-ray (Chandra X-ray Observatory), and optical (Hubble Space Telescope; HST) wavelengths. These observations provide the first evidence for a turnover in the X-ray light curve, mirroring a decline in the radio emission at 5σ significance. The radio-to-X-ray spectral energy distribution exhibits no evolution into the declining phase. Our full multi-wavelength data set is consistent with the predicted behavior of our previously published models of a successful structured jet expanding into a low-density circumbinary medium, but pure cocoon models with a choked jet cannot be ruled out. If future observations continue to track our predictions, we expect that the radio and X-ray emission will remain detectable until ∼1000 days post-merger.