skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: A Dark Energy Camera Search for an Optical Counterpart to the First Advanced LIGO Gravitational Wave Event GW150914

Abstract

We report initial results of a deep search for an optical counterpart to the gravitational wave event GW150914, the first trigger from the Advanced LIGO gravitational wave detectors. We used the Dark Energy Camera (DECam) to image a 102 deg$^2$ area, corresponding to 38% of the initial trigger high-probability sky region and to 11% of the revised high-probability region. We observed in i and z bands at 4-5, 7, and 24 days after the trigger. The median $$5\sigma$$ point-source limiting magnitudes of our search images are i=22.5 and z=21.8 mag. We processed the images through a difference-imaging pipeline using templates from pre-existing Dark Energy Survey data and publicly available DECam data. Due to missing template observations and other losses, our effective search area subtends 40 deg$$^{2}$$, corresponding to 12% total probability in the initial map and 3% of the final map. In this area, we search for objects that decline significantly between days 4-5 and day 7, and are undetectable by day 24, finding none to typical magnitude limits of i= 21.5,21.1,20.1 for object colors (i-z)=1,0,-1, respectively. Our search demonstrates the feasibility of a dedicated search program with DECam and bodes well for future research in this emerging field.

Authors:
ORCiD logo; ORCiD logo; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; more »; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ORCiD logo; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ORCiD logo; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ORCiD logo; ; ; ; ; ; « less
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States); Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States); Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States); Brookhaven National Lab. (BNL), Upton, NY (United States); SLAC National Accelerator Lab., Menlo Park, CA (United States); Fermi National Accelerator Lab. (FNAL), Batavia, IL (United States); The Ohio State Univ., Columbus, OH (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), High Energy Physics (HEP) (SC-25)
Contributing Org.:
The DES Collaboration
OSTI Identifier:
1253580
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1295213; OSTI ID: 1357114; OSTI ID: 1456944; OSTI ID: 1602515
Report Number(s):
FERMILAB-PUB-16-031-AE-PPD; arXiv:1602.04198; BNL-112471-2016-JA; LA-UR-16-20941
Journal ID: ISSN 2041-8213; 1421418
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-07CH11359; SC00112704; AC52-06NA25396; AC02-05CH11231; SC0011726
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal. Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 823; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 2041-8213
Publisher:
Institute of Physics (IOP)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS; 46 INSTRUMENTATION RELATED TO NUCLEAR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY; binaries: close; catalogs; gravitational waves; stars: neutron; surveys; Astronomy and Astrophysics; 72 PHYSICS OF ELEMENTARY PARTICLES AND FIELDS

Citation Formats

Soares-Santos, M., Kessler, R., Berger, E., Annis, J., Brout, D., Buckley-Geer, E., Chen, H., Cowperthwaite, P. S., Diehl, H. T., Doctor, Z., Drlica-Wagner, A., Farr, B., Finley, D. A., Flaugher, B., Foley, R. J., Frieman, J., Gruendl, R. A., Herner, K., Holz, D., Lin, H., Marriner, J., Neilsen, E., Rest, A., Sako, M., Scolnic, D., Sobreira, F., Walker, A. R., Wester, W., Yanny, B., Abbott, T. M. C., Abdalla, F. B., Allam, S., Armstrong, R., Banerji, M., Benoit-Lévy, A., Bernstein, R. A., Bertin, E., Brown, D. A., Burke, D. L., Capozzi, D., Rosell, A. Carnero, Kind, M. Carrasco, Carretero, J., Castander, F. J., Cenko, S. B., Chornock, R., Crocce, M., D’Andrea, C. B., da Costa, L. N., Desai, S., Dietrich, J. P., Drout, M. R., Eifler, T. F., Estrada, J., Evrard, A. E., Fairhurst, S., Fernandez, E., Fischer, J., Fong, W., Fosalba, P., Fox, D. B., Fryer, C. L., Garcia-Bellido, J., Gaztanaga, E., Gerdes, D. W., Goldstein, D. A., Gruen, D., Gutierrez, G., Honscheid, K., James, D. J., Karliner, I., Kasen, D., Kent, S., Kuropatkin, N., Kuehn, K., Lahav, O., Li, T. S., Lima, M., Maia, M. A. G., Margutti, R., Martini, P., Matheson, T., McMahon, R. G., Metzger, B. D., Miller, C. J., Miquel, R., Mohr, J. J., Nichol, R. C., Nord, B., Ogando, R., Peoples, J., Plazas, A. A., Quataert, E., Romer, A. K., Roodman, A., Rykoff, E. S., Sanchez, E., Scarpine, V., Schindler, R., Schubnell, M., Sevilla-Noarbe, I., Sheldon, E., Smith, M., Smith, N., Smith, R. C., Stebbins, A., Sutton, P. J., Swanson, M. E. C., Tarle, G., Thaler, J., Thomas, R. C., Tucker, D. L., Vikram, V., Wechsler, R. H., and Weller, J. A Dark Energy Camera Search for an Optical Counterpart to the First Advanced LIGO Gravitational Wave Event GW150914. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.3847/2041-8205/823/2/L33.
Soares-Santos, M., Kessler, R., Berger, E., Annis, J., Brout, D., Buckley-Geer, E., Chen, H., Cowperthwaite, P. S., Diehl, H. T., Doctor, Z., Drlica-Wagner, A., Farr, B., Finley, D. A., Flaugher, B., Foley, R. J., Frieman, J., Gruendl, R. A., Herner, K., Holz, D., Lin, H., Marriner, J., Neilsen, E., Rest, A., Sako, M., Scolnic, D., Sobreira, F., Walker, A. R., Wester, W., Yanny, B., Abbott, T. M. C., Abdalla, F. B., Allam, S., Armstrong, R., Banerji, M., Benoit-Lévy, A., Bernstein, R. A., Bertin, E., Brown, D. A., Burke, D. L., Capozzi, D., Rosell, A. Carnero, Kind, M. Carrasco, Carretero, J., Castander, F. J., Cenko, S. B., Chornock, R., Crocce, M., D’Andrea, C. B., da Costa, L. N., Desai, S., Dietrich, J. P., Drout, M. R., Eifler, T. F., Estrada, J., Evrard, A. E., Fairhurst, S., Fernandez, E., Fischer, J., Fong, W., Fosalba, P., Fox, D. B., Fryer, C. L., Garcia-Bellido, J., Gaztanaga, E., Gerdes, D. W., Goldstein, D. A., Gruen, D., Gutierrez, G., Honscheid, K., James, D. J., Karliner, I., Kasen, D., Kent, S., Kuropatkin, N., Kuehn, K., Lahav, O., Li, T. S., Lima, M., Maia, M. A. G., Margutti, R., Martini, P., Matheson, T., McMahon, R. G., Metzger, B. D., Miller, C. J., Miquel, R., Mohr, J. J., Nichol, R. C., Nord, B., Ogando, R., Peoples, J., Plazas, A. A., Quataert, E., Romer, A. K., Roodman, A., Rykoff, E. S., Sanchez, E., Scarpine, V., Schindler, R., Schubnell, M., Sevilla-Noarbe, I., Sheldon, E., Smith, M., Smith, N., Smith, R. C., Stebbins, A., Sutton, P. J., Swanson, M. E. C., Tarle, G., Thaler, J., Thomas, R. C., Tucker, D. L., Vikram, V., Wechsler, R. H., & Weller, J. A Dark Energy Camera Search for an Optical Counterpart to the First Advanced LIGO Gravitational Wave Event GW150914. United States. doi:10.3847/2041-8205/823/2/L33.
Soares-Santos, M., Kessler, R., Berger, E., Annis, J., Brout, D., Buckley-Geer, E., Chen, H., Cowperthwaite, P. S., Diehl, H. T., Doctor, Z., Drlica-Wagner, A., Farr, B., Finley, D. A., Flaugher, B., Foley, R. J., Frieman, J., Gruendl, R. A., Herner, K., Holz, D., Lin, H., Marriner, J., Neilsen, E., Rest, A., Sako, M., Scolnic, D., Sobreira, F., Walker, A. R., Wester, W., Yanny, B., Abbott, T. M. C., Abdalla, F. B., Allam, S., Armstrong, R., Banerji, M., Benoit-Lévy, A., Bernstein, R. A., Bertin, E., Brown, D. A., Burke, D. L., Capozzi, D., Rosell, A. Carnero, Kind, M. Carrasco, Carretero, J., Castander, F. J., Cenko, S. B., Chornock, R., Crocce, M., D’Andrea, C. B., da Costa, L. N., Desai, S., Dietrich, J. P., Drout, M. R., Eifler, T. F., Estrada, J., Evrard, A. E., Fairhurst, S., Fernandez, E., Fischer, J., Fong, W., Fosalba, P., Fox, D. B., Fryer, C. L., Garcia-Bellido, J., Gaztanaga, E., Gerdes, D. W., Goldstein, D. A., Gruen, D., Gutierrez, G., Honscheid, K., James, D. J., Karliner, I., Kasen, D., Kent, S., Kuropatkin, N., Kuehn, K., Lahav, O., Li, T. S., Lima, M., Maia, M. A. G., Margutti, R., Martini, P., Matheson, T., McMahon, R. G., Metzger, B. D., Miller, C. J., Miquel, R., Mohr, J. J., Nichol, R. C., Nord, B., Ogando, R., Peoples, J., Plazas, A. A., Quataert, E., Romer, A. K., Roodman, A., Rykoff, E. S., Sanchez, E., Scarpine, V., Schindler, R., Schubnell, M., Sevilla-Noarbe, I., Sheldon, E., Smith, M., Smith, N., Smith, R. C., Stebbins, A., Sutton, P. J., Swanson, M. E. C., Tarle, G., Thaler, J., Thomas, R. C., Tucker, D. L., Vikram, V., Wechsler, R. H., and Weller, J. Fri . "A Dark Energy Camera Search for an Optical Counterpart to the First Advanced LIGO Gravitational Wave Event GW150914". United States. doi:10.3847/2041-8205/823/2/L33. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1253580.
@article{osti_1253580,
title = {A Dark Energy Camera Search for an Optical Counterpart to the First Advanced LIGO Gravitational Wave Event GW150914},
author = {Soares-Santos, M. and Kessler, R. and Berger, E. and Annis, J. and Brout, D. and Buckley-Geer, E. and Chen, H. and Cowperthwaite, P. S. and Diehl, H. T. and Doctor, Z. and Drlica-Wagner, A. and Farr, B. and Finley, D. A. and Flaugher, B. and Foley, R. J. and Frieman, J. and Gruendl, R. A. and Herner, K. and Holz, D. and Lin, H. and Marriner, J. and Neilsen, E. and Rest, A. and Sako, M. and Scolnic, D. and Sobreira, F. and Walker, A. R. and Wester, W. and Yanny, B. and Abbott, T. M. C. and Abdalla, F. B. and Allam, S. and Armstrong, R. and Banerji, M. and Benoit-Lévy, A. and Bernstein, R. A. and Bertin, E. and Brown, D. A. and Burke, D. L. and Capozzi, D. and Rosell, A. Carnero and Kind, M. Carrasco and Carretero, J. and Castander, F. J. and Cenko, S. B. and Chornock, R. and Crocce, M. and D’Andrea, C. B. and da Costa, L. N. and Desai, S. and Dietrich, J. P. and Drout, M. R. and Eifler, T. F. and Estrada, J. and Evrard, A. E. and Fairhurst, S. and Fernandez, E. and Fischer, J. and Fong, W. and Fosalba, P. and Fox, D. B. and Fryer, C. L. and Garcia-Bellido, J. and Gaztanaga, E. and Gerdes, D. W. and Goldstein, D. A. and Gruen, D. and Gutierrez, G. and Honscheid, K. and James, D. J. and Karliner, I. and Kasen, D. and Kent, S. and Kuropatkin, N. and Kuehn, K. and Lahav, O. and Li, T. S. and Lima, M. and Maia, M. A. G. and Margutti, R. and Martini, P. and Matheson, T. and McMahon, R. G. and Metzger, B. D. and Miller, C. J. and Miquel, R. and Mohr, J. J. and Nichol, R. C. and Nord, B. and Ogando, R. and Peoples, J. and Plazas, A. A. and Quataert, E. and Romer, A. K. and Roodman, A. and Rykoff, E. S. and Sanchez, E. and Scarpine, V. and Schindler, R. and Schubnell, M. and Sevilla-Noarbe, I. and Sheldon, E. and Smith, M. and Smith, N. and Smith, R. C. and Stebbins, A. and Sutton, P. J. and Swanson, M. E. C. and Tarle, G. and Thaler, J. and Thomas, R. C. and Tucker, D. L. and Vikram, V. and Wechsler, R. H. and Weller, J.},
abstractNote = {We report initial results of a deep search for an optical counterpart to the gravitational wave event GW150914, the first trigger from the Advanced LIGO gravitational wave detectors. We used the Dark Energy Camera (DECam) to image a 102 deg$^2$ area, corresponding to 38% of the initial trigger high-probability sky region and to 11% of the revised high-probability region. We observed in i and z bands at 4-5, 7, and 24 days after the trigger. The median $5\sigma$ point-source limiting magnitudes of our search images are i=22.5 and z=21.8 mag. We processed the images through a difference-imaging pipeline using templates from pre-existing Dark Energy Survey data and publicly available DECam data. Due to missing template observations and other losses, our effective search area subtends 40 deg$^{2}$, corresponding to 12% total probability in the initial map and 3% of the final map. In this area, we search for objects that decline significantly between days 4-5 and day 7, and are undetectable by day 24, finding none to typical magnitude limits of i= 21.5,21.1,20.1 for object colors (i-z)=1,0,-1, respectively. Our search demonstrates the feasibility of a dedicated search program with DECam and bodes well for future research in this emerging field.},
doi = {10.3847/2041-8205/823/2/L33},
journal = {The Astrophysical Journal. Letters},
issn = {2041-8213},
number = 2,
volume = 823,
place = {United States},
year = {2016},
month = {5}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record

Save / Share:

Works referenced in this record:

First Searches for Optical Counterparts to Gravitational-Wave Candidate Events
journal, February 2014

  • Aasi, J.; Abadie, J.; Abbott, B. P.
  • The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, Vol. 211, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1088/0067-0049/211/1/7

Observation of Gravitational Waves from a Binary Black Hole Merger
journal, February 2016


Prospects for Observing and Localizing Gravitational-Wave Transients with Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo
journal, February 2016

  • Abbott, B. P.; Abbott, R.; Abbott, T. D.
  • Living Reviews in Relativity, Vol. 19, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1007/lrr-2016-1

Search for gravitational-wave bursts in the first year of the fifth LIGO science run
journal, November 2009


Planck 2013 results. XI. All-sky model of thermal dust emission
journal, October 2014


Gravitational wave burst search in the Virgo C7 data
journal, April 2009


Effect of a high Opacity on the Light Curves of Radioactively Powered Transients from Compact Object Mergers
journal, August 2013


Short-Duration Gamma-Ray Bursts
journal, August 2014


SExtractor: Software for source extraction
journal, June 1996

  • Bertin, E.; Arnouts, S.
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics Supplement Series, Vol. 117, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1051/aas:1996164

A Comprehensive Study of Detectability and Contamination in deep Rapid Optical Searches for Gravitational wave Counterparts
journal, November 2015


The Blanco Cosmology Survey: data Acquisition, Processing, Calibration, Quality Diagnostics, and data Release
journal, September 2012


Localization of Short Duration Gravitational-Wave Transients with the Early Advanced ligo and Virgo Detectors
journal, February 2015

  • Essick, Reed; Vitale, Salvatore; Katsavounidis, Erik
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 800, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/800/2/81

The dark Energy Camera
journal, October 2015


Automated Transient Identification in the dark Energy Survey
journal, August 2015


The long-term evolution of neutron star merger remnants – II. Radioactively powered transients
journal, January 2014

  • Grossman, Doron; Korobkin, Oleg; Rosswog, Stephan
  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 439, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stt2503

The Difference Imaging Pipeline for the Transient Search in the dark Energy Survey
journal, November 2015


A coherent method for detection of gravitational wave bursts
journal, May 2008


Transient Events from Neutron Star Mergers
journal, November 1998

  • Li, Li-Xin; Paczyński, Bohdan
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 507, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1086/311680

What is the most Promising Electromagnetic Counterpart of a Neutron star Binary Merger?
journal, January 2012


The Dark Energy Survey data processing and calibration system
conference, September 2012

  • Mohr, Joseph J.; Armstrong, Robert; Bertin, Emmanuel
  • SPIE Astronomical Telescopes + Instrumentation, SPIE Proceedings
  • DOI: 10.1117/12.926785

Detectable radio flares following gravitational waves from mergers of binary neutron stars
journal, September 2011


Radiative Transfer Simulations of Neutron star Merger Ejecta
journal, September 2013


Radioactively Powered Emission from Black Hole-Neutron star Mergers
journal, December 2013

  • Tanaka, Masaomi; Hotokezaka, Kenta; Kyutoku, Koutarou
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 780, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/780/1/31

    Works referencing / citing this record:

    An Empirical Study of Contamination in Deep, Rapid, and Wide-field Optical Follow-up of Gravitational Wave Events
    journal, April 2018


    An Empirical Study of Contamination in Deep, Rapid, and Wide-field Optical Follow-up of Gravitational Wave Events
    journal, April 2018