The short gamma-ray burst-merger connection

Frédéric Daigne (IAP)

The connection between gamma-ray bursts and mergers of binary systems of compact objects has been discussed for decades. Recently, this connection is especially considered for the class of short gamma-ray bursts, which might be associated with the merger of two neutron stars or a neutron star and a black hole. There are several observational evidences, in particular from the study of their host galaxies. Very recently, the discovery of the short gamma-ray burst GRB 170817A in association with the first detection of gravitational waves from a binary neutron star merger, GW 170817, is a new fundamental step in this discussion. The atypical properties of the gamma-ray burst and the afterglow, which has been followed for months, lead to a complex picture, that forbids to conclude definitively with this single event. However, new detections are expected in the near future. During this seminar, I will summarise the situation before GW170817, then describe the contributions of this exceptional event, identify several new questions emerging today, and conclude with prospects for the coming new gravitational wave campaigns.