No Detectable Kilonova Counterpart Is Expected for o3 Neutron Star-Black Hole Candidates

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Astrophysical Journal






We analyze the tidal disruption probability of potential neutron star-black hole (NSBH) merger gravitational-wave (GW) events, including GW190426_152155, GW190814, GW200105_162426, and GW200115_042309, detected during the third observing run of the LIGO/Virgo Collaboration and the detectability of kilonova emission in connection with these events. The posterior distributions of GW190814 and GW200105_162426 show that they must be plunging events, and hence no kilonova signal is expected from these events. With the stiffest NS equation of state allowed by the constraint of GW170817 taken into account, the probability that GW190426_152155 and GW200115_042309 can make tidal disruption is ∼24% and ∼3%, respectively. However, the predicted kilonova brightness is too faint to be detected for present follow-up search campaigns, which explains the lack of electromagnetic (EM) counterpart detection after triggers of these GW events. Based on the best-constrained population synthesis simulation results, we find that disrupted events account for only ≲20% of cosmological NSBH mergers, since most of the primary BHs could have low spins. The associated kilonovae for those disrupted events will still be difficult for LSST to discover after GW triggers in the future because of their low brightness and larger distances. For future GW-triggered multimessenger observations, potential short-duration gamma-ray bursts and afterglows are more probable EM counterparts of NSBH GW events.

Controlled Subject

Neutron stars


Stars, Interstellar Medium and the Galaxy

UNLV article access

Search your library