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Title: SEEKING COUNTERPARTS TO ADVANCED LIGO/Virgo TRANSIENTS WITH SWIFT

Abstract

Binary neutron star (NS) mergers are among the most promising astrophysical sources of gravitational wave (GW) emission for Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo, expected to be operational in 2015. Finding electromagnetic counterparts to these signals will be essential to placing them in an astronomical context. The Swift satellite carries a sensitive X-Ray Telescope (XRT), and can respond to target-of-opportunity requests within one to two hours, and so is uniquely poised to find the X-ray counterparts to LIGO/Virgo triggers. Assuming that NS mergers are the progenitors of short gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), some percentage of LIGO/Virgo triggers will be accompanied by X-ray band afterglows that are brighter than 10{sup -12} erg s{sup -1} cm{sup -2} in the XRT band one day after the trigger time. We find that a soft X-ray transient of this flux is bright enough to be extremely rare, and so could be confidently associated with even a moderately localized GW signal. We examine two possible search strategies with the Swift XRT to find bright transients in LIGO/Virgo error boxes. In the first strategy, XRT could search a volume of space with a {approx}100 Mpc radius by observing {approx}30 galaxies over the course of a day, with sufficient depthmore » to observe the expected X-ray afterglow. For an extended LIGO/Virgo horizon distance, the XRT could employ 100 s exposures to cover an area of {approx}35 deg{sup 2} in about a day and remain sensitive enough to image GW-discovered GRB afterglows. These strategies demonstrate that discovery of X-ray band counterparts to GW triggers will be possible, though challenging, with current facilities.« less

Authors:
;  [1]; ;  [2];  [3]
  1. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Mail Code 663, Greenbelt, MD 20771 (United States)
  2. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Mail Code 661, Greenbelt, MD 20771 (United States)
  3. Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Sheffield, Hicks Building, Hounsfield Road, Sheffield S3 7RH (United Kingdom)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22086490
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Astrophysical Journal
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 759; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); Journal ID: ISSN 0004-637X
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; AFTERGLOW; ASTRONOMY; ASTROPHYSICS; COSMIC GAMMA BURSTS; DISTANCE; EMISSION; GALAXIES; GRAVITATIONAL WAVE DETECTORS; GRAVITATIONAL WAVES; NEUTRON STARS; SATELLITES; SOFT X RADIATION; TELESCOPES; TRANSIENTS

Citation Formats

Kanner, Jonah, Camp, Jordan, Racusin, Judith, Gehrels, Neil, and White, Darren, E-mail: jonah.b.kanner@nasa.gov. SEEKING COUNTERPARTS TO ADVANCED LIGO/Virgo TRANSIENTS WITH SWIFT. United States: N. p., 2012. Web. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/759/1/22.
Kanner, Jonah, Camp, Jordan, Racusin, Judith, Gehrels, Neil, & White, Darren, E-mail: jonah.b.kanner@nasa.gov. SEEKING COUNTERPARTS TO ADVANCED LIGO/Virgo TRANSIENTS WITH SWIFT. United States. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/759/1/22.
Kanner, Jonah, Camp, Jordan, Racusin, Judith, Gehrels, Neil, and White, Darren, E-mail: jonah.b.kanner@nasa.gov. Thu . "SEEKING COUNTERPARTS TO ADVANCED LIGO/Virgo TRANSIENTS WITH SWIFT". United States. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/759/1/22.
@article{osti_22086490,
title = {SEEKING COUNTERPARTS TO ADVANCED LIGO/Virgo TRANSIENTS WITH SWIFT},
author = {Kanner, Jonah and Camp, Jordan and Racusin, Judith and Gehrels, Neil and White, Darren, E-mail: jonah.b.kanner@nasa.gov},
abstractNote = {Binary neutron star (NS) mergers are among the most promising astrophysical sources of gravitational wave (GW) emission for Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo, expected to be operational in 2015. Finding electromagnetic counterparts to these signals will be essential to placing them in an astronomical context. The Swift satellite carries a sensitive X-Ray Telescope (XRT), and can respond to target-of-opportunity requests within one to two hours, and so is uniquely poised to find the X-ray counterparts to LIGO/Virgo triggers. Assuming that NS mergers are the progenitors of short gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), some percentage of LIGO/Virgo triggers will be accompanied by X-ray band afterglows that are brighter than 10{sup -12} erg s{sup -1} cm{sup -2} in the XRT band one day after the trigger time. We find that a soft X-ray transient of this flux is bright enough to be extremely rare, and so could be confidently associated with even a moderately localized GW signal. We examine two possible search strategies with the Swift XRT to find bright transients in LIGO/Virgo error boxes. In the first strategy, XRT could search a volume of space with a {approx}100 Mpc radius by observing {approx}30 galaxies over the course of a day, with sufficient depth to observe the expected X-ray afterglow. For an extended LIGO/Virgo horizon distance, the XRT could employ 100 s exposures to cover an area of {approx}35 deg{sup 2} in about a day and remain sensitive enough to image GW-discovered GRB afterglows. These strategies demonstrate that discovery of X-ray band counterparts to GW triggers will be possible, though challenging, with current facilities.},
doi = {10.1088/0004-637X/759/1/22},
journal = {Astrophysical Journal},
issn = {0004-637X},
number = 1,
volume = 759,
place = {United States},
year = {2012},
month = {11}
}