“Super-kilonovae” from Massive Collapsars as Signatures of Black Hole Birth in the Pair-instability Mass Gap

Daniel M. Siegel, Aman Agarwal, Jennifer Barnes, Brian D. Metzger, Mathieu Renzo, V. Ashley Villar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

The core collapse of rapidly rotating massive ∼ 10M stars (“collapsars”), and the resulting formation of hyperaccreting black holes, comprise a leading model for the central engines of long-duration gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) and promising sources of r-process nucleosynthesis. Here, we explore the signatures of collapsars from progenitors with helium cores ≳ 130M above the pair-instability mass gap. While the rapid collapse to a black hole likely precludes prompt explosions in these systems, we demonstrate that disk outflows can generate a large quantity (up to ≳ 50M ) of ejecta, comprised of ≳ 5-10M in r-process elements and ∼ 0.1-1M of 56Ni, expanding at velocities ∼0.1 c. Radioactive heating of the disk wind ejecta powers an optical/IR transient, with a characteristic luminosity ∼ 1042 erg s−1 and a spectral peak in the near-IR (due to the high optical/UV opacities of lanthanide elements), similar to kilonovae from neutron star mergers, but with longer durations ≳1 month. These “super-kilonovae” (superKNe) herald the birth of massive black holes ≳ 60M , which—as a result of disk wind mass loss—can populate the pair-instability mass gap “from above,” and could potentially create the binary components of GW190521. SuperKNe could be discovered via wide-field surveys, such as those planned with the Roman Space Telescope, or via late-time IR follow-up observations of extremely energetic GRBs. Multiband gravitational waves of ∼ 0.1-50 Hz from nonaxisymmetric instabilities in self-gravitating massive collapsar disks are potentially detectable by proposed observatories out to hundreds of Mpc; in contrast to the “chirp” from binary mergers, the collapsar gravitational-wave signal decreases in frequency as the disk radius grows (“sad trombone”).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume941
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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