Implementation and testing of the first prompt search for gravitational wave transients with electromagnetic counterparts

J. Abadie, N. A. Lockerbie, K. V. Tokmakov, LIGO Scientific Collaboration, Virgo Collaboration

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

68 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aims. A transient astrophysical event observed in both gravitational wave (GW) and electromagnetic (EM) channels would yield rich scientific rewards. A first program initiating EM follow-ups to possible transient GW events has been developed and exercised by the LIGO and Virgo community in association with several partners. In this paper, we describe and evaluate the methods used to promptly identify and localize GW event candidates and to request images of targeted sky locations. Methods. During two observing periods (Dec. 17, 2009 to Jan. 8, 2010 and Sep. 2 to Oct. 20, 2010), a low-latency analysis pipeline was used to identify GW event candidates and to reconstruct maps of possible sky locations. A catalog of nearby galaxies and Milky Way globular clusters was used to select the most promising sky positions to be imaged, and this directional information was delivered to EM observatories with time lags of about thirty minutes. A Monte Carlo simulation has been used to evaluate the low-latency GW pipeline's ability to reconstruct source positions correctly. Results. For signals near the detection threshold, our low-latency algorithms often localized simulated GW burst signals to tens of square degrees, while neutron star/neutron star inspirals and neutron star/black hole inspirals were localized to a few hundred square degrees. Localization precision improves for moderately stronger signals. The correct sky location of signals well above threshold and originating from nearby galaxies may be observed with similar to 50% or better probability with a few pointings of wide-field telescopes.
LanguageEnglish
Article numberA124
Number of pages15
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Volume539
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012

Fingerprint

gravitational waves
electromagnetism
sky
neutron stars
galaxies
LIGO (observatory)
thresholds
globular clusters
catalogs
bursts
observatories
astrophysics
time lag
observatory
telescopes
stars
simulation
method

Keywords

  • gravitational waves
  • all sky searching
  • Monte Carlo simulation
  • LIGO scientific collaboration

Cite this

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title = "Implementation and testing of the first prompt search for gravitational wave transients with electromagnetic counterparts",
abstract = "Aims. A transient astrophysical event observed in both gravitational wave (GW) and electromagnetic (EM) channels would yield rich scientific rewards. A first program initiating EM follow-ups to possible transient GW events has been developed and exercised by the LIGO and Virgo community in association with several partners. In this paper, we describe and evaluate the methods used to promptly identify and localize GW event candidates and to request images of targeted sky locations. Methods. During two observing periods (Dec. 17, 2009 to Jan. 8, 2010 and Sep. 2 to Oct. 20, 2010), a low-latency analysis pipeline was used to identify GW event candidates and to reconstruct maps of possible sky locations. A catalog of nearby galaxies and Milky Way globular clusters was used to select the most promising sky positions to be imaged, and this directional information was delivered to EM observatories with time lags of about thirty minutes. A Monte Carlo simulation has been used to evaluate the low-latency GW pipeline's ability to reconstruct source positions correctly. Results. For signals near the detection threshold, our low-latency algorithms often localized simulated GW burst signals to tens of square degrees, while neutron star/neutron star inspirals and neutron star/black hole inspirals were localized to a few hundred square degrees. Localization precision improves for moderately stronger signals. The correct sky location of signals well above threshold and originating from nearby galaxies may be observed with similar to 50{\%} or better probability with a few pointings of wide-field telescopes.",
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author = "J. Abadie and Lockerbie, {N. A.} and Tokmakov, {K. V.} and {LIGO Scientific Collaboration} and {Virgo Collaboration}",
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Implementation and testing of the first prompt search for gravitational wave transients with electromagnetic counterparts. / Abadie, J.; Lockerbie, N. A.; Tokmakov, K. V.; LIGO Scientific Collaboration; Virgo Collaboration.

In: Astronomy and Astrophysics, Vol. 539, A124, 03.2012.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Lockerbie, N. A.

AU - Tokmakov, K. V.

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