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Title: A DECam search for an optical counterpart to the LIGO gravitational-wave event GW151226

Abstract

We report the results of a Dark Energy Camera optical follow-up of the gravitational-wave (GW) event GW151226, discovered by the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory detectors. Our observations cover 28.8 deg(2) of the localization region in the i and z bands (containing 3% of the BAYESTAR localization probability), starting 10 hr after the event was announced and spanning four epochs at 2–24 days after the GW detection. We achieve $$5\sigma $$ point-source limiting magnitudes of $$i\approx 21.7$$ and $$z\approx 21.5$$, with a scatter of 0.4 mag, in our difference images. Given the two-day delay, we search this area for a rapidly declining optical counterpart with $$\gtrsim 3\sigma $$ significance steady decline between the first and final observations. We recover four sources that pass our selection criteria, of which three are cataloged active galactic nuclei. The fourth source is offset by 5.8 arcsec from the center of a galaxy at a distance of 187 Mpc, exhibits a rapid decline by 0.5 mag over 4 days, and has a red color of $$i-z\approx 0.3$$ mag. These properties could satisfy a set of cuts designed to identify kilonovae. However, this source was detected several times, starting 94 days prior to GW151226, in the Pan-STARRS Survey for Transients (dubbed as PS15cdi) and is therefore unrelated to the GW event. Given its long-term behavior, PS15cdi is likely a Type IIP supernova that transitioned out of its plateau phase during our observations, mimicking a kilonova-like behavior. We comment on the implications of this detection for contamination in future optical follow-up observations.

Authors:
ORCiD logo; ORCiD logo; ORCiD logo; ORCiD logo; ; ORCiD logo; ; ORCiD logo; ORCiD logo; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; more »; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; « less
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
SLAC National Accelerator Lab., Menlo Park, CA (United States); Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, 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)
Contributing Org.:
The DES Collaboration; DES Collaboration
OSTI Identifier:
1334303
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1334270; OSTI ID: 1454479; OSTI ID: 1602516
Report Number(s):
FERMILAB-PUB-16-218-AE-PPD; arXiv:1606.04538
Journal ID: ISSN 2041-8213
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-SF00515; AC02-07CH11359; AC02-05CH11231; SC0011726
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal. Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 826; 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; binaries: close; catalogs; gravitational waves; stars: neutron; surveys; 72 PHYSICS OF ELEMENTARY PARTICLES AND FIELDS

Citation Formats

Cowperthwaite, P. S., Berger, E., Soares-Santos, M., Annis, J., Brout, D., Brown, D. A., Buckley-Geer, E., Cenko, S. B., Chen, H. Y., Chornock, R., Diehl, H. T., Doctor, Z., Drlica-Wagner, A., Drout, M. R., Farr, B., Finley, D. A., Foley, R. J., Fong, W., Fox, D. B., Frieman, J., Garcia-Bellido, J., Gill, M. S. S., Gruendl, R. A., Herner, K., Holz, D. E., Kasen, D., Kessler, R., Lin, H., Margutti, R., Marriner, J., Matheson, T., Metzger, B. D., Neilsen Jr., E. H., Quataert, E., Rest, A., Sako, M., Scolnic, D., Smith, N., Sobreira, F., Strampelli, G. M., Villar, V. A., Walker, A. R., Wester, W., Williams, P. K. G., Yanny, B., Abbott, T. M. C., Abdalla, F. B., Allam, S., Armstrong, R., Bechtol, K., Benoit-Lévy, A., Bertin, E., Brooks, D., Burke, D. L., Rosell, A. Carnero, Kind, M. Carrasco, Carretero, J., Castander, F. J., Cunha, C. E., D’Andrea, C. B., Costa, L. N. da, Desai, S., Dietrich, J. P., Evrard, A. E., Neto, A. Fausti, Fosalba, P., Gerdes, D. W., Giannantonio, T., Goldstein, D. A., Gruen, D., Gutierrez, G., Honscheid, K., James, D. J., Johnson, M. W. G., Johnson, M. D., Krause, E., Kuehn, K., Kuropatkin, N., Lima, M., Maia, M. A. G., Marshall, J. L., Menanteau, F., Miquel, R., Mohr, J. J., Nichol, R. C., Nord, B., Ogando, R., Plazas, A. A., Reil, K., Romer, A. K., Sanchez, E., Scarpine, V., Sevilla-Noarbe, I., Smith, R. C., Suchyta, E., Tarle, G., Thomas, D., Thomas, R. C., Tucker, D. L., and Weller, J. A DECam search for an optical counterpart to the LIGO gravitational-wave event GW151226. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.3847/2041-8205/826/2/L29.
Cowperthwaite, P. S., Berger, E., Soares-Santos, M., Annis, J., Brout, D., Brown, D. A., Buckley-Geer, E., Cenko, S. B., Chen, H. Y., Chornock, R., Diehl, H. T., Doctor, Z., Drlica-Wagner, A., Drout, M. R., Farr, B., Finley, D. A., Foley, R. J., Fong, W., Fox, D. B., Frieman, J., Garcia-Bellido, J., Gill, M. S. S., Gruendl, R. A., Herner, K., Holz, D. E., Kasen, D., Kessler, R., Lin, H., Margutti, R., Marriner, J., Matheson, T., Metzger, B. D., Neilsen Jr., E. H., Quataert, E., Rest, A., Sako, M., Scolnic, D., Smith, N., Sobreira, F., Strampelli, G. M., Villar, V. A., Walker, A. R., Wester, W., Williams, P. K. G., Yanny, B., Abbott, T. M. C., Abdalla, F. B., Allam, S., Armstrong, R., Bechtol, K., Benoit-Lévy, A., Bertin, E., Brooks, D., Burke, D. L., Rosell, A. Carnero, Kind, M. Carrasco, Carretero, J., Castander, F. J., Cunha, C. E., D’Andrea, C. B., Costa, L. N. da, Desai, S., Dietrich, J. P., Evrard, A. E., Neto, A. Fausti, Fosalba, P., Gerdes, D. W., Giannantonio, T., Goldstein, D. A., Gruen, D., Gutierrez, G., Honscheid, K., James, D. J., Johnson, M. W. G., Johnson, M. D., Krause, E., Kuehn, K., Kuropatkin, N., Lima, M., Maia, M. A. G., Marshall, J. L., Menanteau, F., Miquel, R., Mohr, J. J., Nichol, R. C., Nord, B., Ogando, R., Plazas, A. A., Reil, K., Romer, A. K., Sanchez, E., Scarpine, V., Sevilla-Noarbe, I., Smith, R. C., Suchyta, E., Tarle, G., Thomas, D., Thomas, R. C., Tucker, D. L., & Weller, J. A DECam search for an optical counterpart to the LIGO gravitational-wave event GW151226. United States. doi:10.3847/2041-8205/826/2/L29.
Cowperthwaite, P. S., Berger, E., Soares-Santos, M., Annis, J., Brout, D., Brown, D. A., Buckley-Geer, E., Cenko, S. B., Chen, H. Y., Chornock, R., Diehl, H. T., Doctor, Z., Drlica-Wagner, A., Drout, M. R., Farr, B., Finley, D. A., Foley, R. J., Fong, W., Fox, D. B., Frieman, J., Garcia-Bellido, J., Gill, M. S. S., Gruendl, R. A., Herner, K., Holz, D. E., Kasen, D., Kessler, R., Lin, H., Margutti, R., Marriner, J., Matheson, T., Metzger, B. D., Neilsen Jr., E. H., Quataert, E., Rest, A., Sako, M., Scolnic, D., Smith, N., Sobreira, F., Strampelli, G. M., Villar, V. A., Walker, A. R., Wester, W., Williams, P. K. G., Yanny, B., Abbott, T. M. C., Abdalla, F. B., Allam, S., Armstrong, R., Bechtol, K., Benoit-Lévy, A., Bertin, E., Brooks, D., Burke, D. L., Rosell, A. Carnero, Kind, M. Carrasco, Carretero, J., Castander, F. J., Cunha, C. E., D’Andrea, C. B., Costa, L. N. da, Desai, S., Dietrich, J. P., Evrard, A. E., Neto, A. Fausti, Fosalba, P., Gerdes, D. W., Giannantonio, T., Goldstein, D. A., Gruen, D., Gutierrez, G., Honscheid, K., James, D. J., Johnson, M. W. G., Johnson, M. D., Krause, E., Kuehn, K., Kuropatkin, N., Lima, M., Maia, M. A. G., Marshall, J. L., Menanteau, F., Miquel, R., Mohr, J. J., Nichol, R. C., Nord, B., Ogando, R., Plazas, A. A., Reil, K., Romer, A. K., Sanchez, E., Scarpine, V., Sevilla-Noarbe, I., Smith, R. C., Suchyta, E., Tarle, G., Thomas, D., Thomas, R. C., Tucker, D. L., and Weller, J. Fri . "A DECam search for an optical counterpart to the LIGO gravitational-wave event GW151226". United States. doi:10.3847/2041-8205/826/2/L29. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1334303.
@article{osti_1334303,
title = {A DECam search for an optical counterpart to the LIGO gravitational-wave event GW151226},
author = {Cowperthwaite, P. S. and Berger, E. and Soares-Santos, M. and Annis, J. and Brout, D. and Brown, D. A. and Buckley-Geer, E. and Cenko, S. B. and Chen, H. Y. and Chornock, R. and Diehl, H. T. and Doctor, Z. and Drlica-Wagner, A. and Drout, M. R. and Farr, B. and Finley, D. A. and Foley, R. J. and Fong, W. and Fox, D. B. and Frieman, J. and Garcia-Bellido, J. and Gill, M. S. S. and Gruendl, R. A. and Herner, K. and Holz, D. E. and Kasen, D. and Kessler, R. and Lin, H. and Margutti, R. and Marriner, J. and Matheson, T. and Metzger, B. D. and Neilsen Jr., E. H. and Quataert, E. and Rest, A. and Sako, M. and Scolnic, D. and Smith, N. and Sobreira, F. and Strampelli, G. M. and Villar, V. A. and Walker, A. R. and Wester, W. and Williams, P. K. G. and Yanny, B. and Abbott, T. M. C. and Abdalla, F. B. and Allam, S. and Armstrong, R. and Bechtol, K. and Benoit-Lévy, A. and Bertin, E. and Brooks, D. and Burke, D. L. and Rosell, A. Carnero and Kind, M. Carrasco and Carretero, J. and Castander, F. J. and Cunha, C. E. and D’Andrea, C. B. and Costa, L. N. da and Desai, S. and Dietrich, J. P. and Evrard, A. E. and Neto, A. Fausti and Fosalba, P. and Gerdes, D. W. and Giannantonio, T. and Goldstein, D. A. and Gruen, D. and Gutierrez, G. and Honscheid, K. and James, D. J. and Johnson, M. W. G. and Johnson, M. D. and Krause, E. and Kuehn, K. and Kuropatkin, N. and Lima, M. and Maia, M. A. G. and Marshall, J. L. and Menanteau, F. and Miquel, R. and Mohr, J. J. and Nichol, R. C. and Nord, B. and Ogando, R. and Plazas, A. A. and Reil, K. and Romer, A. K. and Sanchez, E. and Scarpine, V. and Sevilla-Noarbe, I. and Smith, R. C. and Suchyta, E. and Tarle, G. and Thomas, D. and Thomas, R. C. and Tucker, D. L. and Weller, J.},
abstractNote = {We report the results of a Dark Energy Camera optical follow-up of the gravitational-wave (GW) event GW151226, discovered by the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory detectors. Our observations cover 28.8 deg(2) of the localization region in the i and z bands (containing 3% of the BAYESTAR localization probability), starting 10 hr after the event was announced and spanning four epochs at 2–24 days after the GW detection. We achieve $5\sigma $ point-source limiting magnitudes of $i\approx 21.7$ and $z\approx 21.5$, with a scatter of 0.4 mag, in our difference images. Given the two-day delay, we search this area for a rapidly declining optical counterpart with $\gtrsim 3\sigma $ significance steady decline between the first and final observations. We recover four sources that pass our selection criteria, of which three are cataloged active galactic nuclei. The fourth source is offset by 5.8 arcsec from the center of a galaxy at a distance of 187 Mpc, exhibits a rapid decline by 0.5 mag over 4 days, and has a red color of $i-z\approx 0.3$ mag. These properties could satisfy a set of cuts designed to identify kilonovae. However, this source was detected several times, starting 94 days prior to GW151226, in the Pan-STARRS Survey for Transients (dubbed as PS15cdi) and is therefore unrelated to the GW event. Given its long-term behavior, PS15cdi is likely a Type IIP supernova that transitioned out of its plateau phase during our observations, mimicking a kilonova-like behavior. We comment on the implications of this detection for contamination in future optical follow-up observations.},
doi = {10.3847/2041-8205/826/2/L29},
journal = {The Astrophysical Journal. Letters},
issn = {2041-8213},
number = 2,
volume = 826,
place = {United States},
year = {2016},
month = {7}
}

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    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
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