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Can magnetic fields be detected during the inspiral of binary neutron stars?

Authors

  • Bruno Giacomazzo,

    Corresponding author
    1. Max-Planck-Institut für Gravitationsphysik, Albert-Einstein-Institut, Potsdam-Golm 14476, Germany
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  • Luciano Rezzolla,

    1. Max-Planck-Institut für Gravitationsphysik, Albert-Einstein-Institut, Potsdam-Golm 14476, Germany
    2. Department of Physics and Astronomy, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA
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  • Luca Baiotti

    1. Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Tokyo, Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-8902, Japan
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E-mail: bgiacoma@aei.mpg.de

ABSTRACT

Using accurate and fully general-relativistic simulations we assess the effect that magnetic fields have on the gravitational-wave emission produced during the inspiral and merger of magnetized neutron stars. In particular, we show that magnetic fields have an impact after the merger, because they are amplified by a Kelvin–Helmholtz instability, but also during the inspiral, most likely because the magnetic tension reduces the stellar tidal deformation for extremely large initial magnetic fields, B0≳ 1017 G. We quantify the influence of magnetic fields by computing the overlap, inline image, between the waveforms produced during the inspiral by magnetized and unmagnetized binaries. We find that for any realistic magnetic field strength B0≲ 1014 G the overlap during the inspiral is inline image and is quite insensitive to the mass of the neutron stars. Only for unrealistically large magnetic fields like B0≃ 1017 G the overlap does decrease noticeably, becoming at our resolutions inline image for stars with baryon masses Mb≃ 1.4/1.6 M, respectively. Because neutron stars are expected to merge with magnetic fields ∼108–1010 G and because present detectors are sensitive to inline image, we conclude that it is very unlikely that the present detectors will be able to discern the presence of magnetic fields during the inspiral of neutron stars.

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