Physical Implications of the Subthreshold GRB GBM-190816 and Its Associated Subthreshold Gravitational-wave Event

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

The Astrophysical Journal





First page number:


Last page number:



The LIGO/Virgo and Fermi collaborations recently reported a possible joint detection of a subthreshold gravitational-wave (GW) event and a subthreshold gamma-ray burst (GRB), GBM-190816, that occurred 1.57 s after the merger. We perform an independent analysis of the publicly available data and investigate the physical implications of this potential association. By carefully studying the following properties of GBM-190816 using Fermi/GBM data, including signal-to-noise ratio, duration, f-parameter, spectral properties, energetic properties, and its compliance with some GRB statistical correlations, we confirm that this event is likely a typical short GRB. Assuming its association with the subthreshold GW event, the inferred luminosity is ${1.47}_{-1.04}^{+3.40}\times {10}^{49}$ erg s−1. Based on the available information of the subthreshold GW event, we infer the mass ratio q of the compact binary as $q={2.26}_{-1.43}^{+2.75}$ (90% confidence interval) according to the reported range of luminosity distance. If the heavier compact object has a mass >3 solar masses, q can be further constrained to $q={2.26}_{-0.12}^{+2.75}$. The leading physical scenario invokes an NS–BH merger system with the NS tidally disrupted. Within this scenario, we constrain the physical properties of such a system (including mass ratio q, the spin parameters, and the observer's viewing angle) to produce a GRB. The GW data may also allow an NS–BH system with no tidal disruption of the NS (the plunge events) or a BH–BH merger. We apply the charged compact binary coalescence theory (for both a constant charge and an increasing charge for the merging members) to derive the model parameters to account for GBM-190816 and found that the required parameters are extreme. Finally, we argue that the fact that the observed GW–GRB delay timescale is comparable to that of GW170817/GRB 170817A suggests that the GW–GRB time delay of these two cases is mainly defined by the timescale for the jet to propagate to the energy dissipation/GRB emission site.


Gamma-Ray Bursts; Gravitational Waves; Relativistic Jets; Compact Objects; Black Holes; Neutron Stars; Gamma-Ray Transient Sources


Astrophysics and Astronomy | Physical Sciences and Mathematics



UNLV article access

Search your library