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Dietrich, J. P.; Mohr, J. J.; Giannantonio, T.; Miquel, R.; Weller, J. (2017): The Electromagnetic Counterpart of the Binary Neutron Star Merger LIGO/Virgo GW170817. II. UV, Optical, and Near-infrared Light Curves and Comparison to Kilonova Models. In: Astrophysical Journal Letters, Vol. 848, No. 2, L17
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We present UV, optical, and near-infrared (NIR) photometry of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave source from Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO)/Virgo, the binary neutron star merger GW170817. Our data set extends from the discovery of the optical counterpart at 0.47-18.5 days post-merger, and includes observations with the Dark Energy Camera (DECam), Gemini-South/ FLAMINGOS-2 (GS/F2), and the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). The spectral energy distribution (SED) inferred from this photometry at 0.6 days is well described by a blackbody model with T approximate to 8300 K, a radius of R approximate to 4.5 x 10(14) cm (corresponding to an expansion velocity of v approximate to 0.3c), and a bolometric luminosity of L-bol approximate to 5 x 10(41) erg s(-1). At 1.5 days we find a multi-component SED across the optical and NIR, and subsequently we observe rapid fading in the UV and blue optical bands and significant reddening of the optical/ NIR colors. Modeling the entire data set, we find that models with heating from radioactive decay of Ni-56, or those with only a single component of opacity from r-process elements, fail to capture the rapid optical decline and red optical/NIR colors. Instead, models with two components consistent with lanthanide-poor and lanthanide-rich ejecta provide a good fit to the data;the resulting "blue" component has M-ej(blue) approximate to 0.01 M-circle dot and v(ej)(blue) approximate to 0.3c, and the "red" component has M-cj(red) approximate to 0.04 M-circle dot and v(cj)(red) approximate to 0.1 c. These ejecta masses are broadly consistent with the estimated r-process production rate required to explain the Milky Way r-process abundances, providing the first evidence that binary neutron star (BNS) mergers can be a dominant site of r-process enrichment.