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Title: GOING THE DISTANCE: MAPPING HOST GALAXIES OF LIGO AND VIRGO SOURCES IN THREE DIMENSIONS USING LOCAL COSMOGRAPHY AND TARGETED FOLLOW-UP

Abstract

The Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) discovered gravitational waves (GWs) from a binary black hole merger in 2015 September and may soon observe signals from neutron star mergers. There is considerable interest in searching for their faint and rapidly fading electromagnetic (EM) counterparts, though GW position uncertainties are as coarse as hundreds of square degrees. Because LIGO’s sensitivity to binary neutron stars is limited to the local universe, the area on the sky that must be searched could be reduced by weighting positions by mass, luminosity, or star formation in nearby galaxies. Since GW observations provide information about luminosity distance, combining the reconstructed volume with positions and redshifts of galaxies could reduce the area even more dramatically. A key missing ingredient has been a rapid GW parameter estimation algorithm that reconstructs the full distribution of sky location and distance. We demonstrate the first such algorithm, which takes under a minute, fast enough to enable immediate EM follow-up. By combining the three-dimensional posterior with a galaxy catalog, we can reduce the number of galaxies that could conceivably host the event by a factor of 1.4, the total exposure time for the Swift X-ray Telescope by a factor of 2, themore » total exposure time for a synoptic optical survey by a factor of 2, and the total exposure time for a narrow-field optical telescope by a factor of 3. This encourages us to suggest a new role for small field of view optical instruments in performing targeted searches of the most massive galaxies within the reconstructed volumes.« less

Authors:
; ; ;  [1]; ; ;  [2]; ; ; ;  [3]; ;  [4];  [5];  [6];  [7];  [8]; ;  [9];  [10]
  1. Astroparticle Physics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Mail Code 661, Greenbelt, MD 20771 (United States)
  2. Department of Physics, Enrico Fermi Institute, and Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637 (United States)
  3. School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, B15 2TT (United Kingdom)
  4. LIGO Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125 (United States)
  5. Cahill Center for Astrophysics, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125 (United States)
  6. Institute of Mathematics, Astrophysics and Particle Physics, Radboud University, Heyendaalseweg 135, 6525 AJ Nijmegen (Netherlands)
  7. Department of Physics and Astronomy, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138 (United States)
  8. Leonard E. Parker Center for Gravitation, Cosmology, and Astrophysics, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI 53201 (United States)
  9. LIGO Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 185 Albany Street, Cambridge, MA 02139 (United States)
  10. Department of Physics, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22654471
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal Letters; Journal Volume: 829; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ALGORITHMS; BLACK HOLES; DISTRIBUTION; GALAXIES; GRAVITATIONAL WAVES; INTERFEROMETERS; LUMINOSITY; MASS; NEUTRON STARS; RED SHIFT; SENSITIVITY; SKY; TELESCOPES; THREE-DIMENSIONAL CALCULATIONS; UNIVERSE; X RADIATION

Citation Formats

Singer, Leo P., Cenko, S. Bradley, Gehrels, Neil, Cannizzo, John, Chen, Hsin-Yu, Holz, Daniel E., Farr, Ben, Farr, Will M., Veitch, John, Berry, Christopher P. L., Mandel, Ilya, Price, Larry R., Raymond, Vivien, Kasliwal, Mansi M., Nissanke, Samaya, Coughlin, Michael, Urban, Alex L., Vitale, Salvatore, Mohapatra, Satya, and Graff, Philip. GOING THE DISTANCE: MAPPING HOST GALAXIES OF LIGO AND VIRGO SOURCES IN THREE DIMENSIONS USING LOCAL COSMOGRAPHY AND TARGETED FOLLOW-UP. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.3847/2041-8205/829/1/L15.
Singer, Leo P., Cenko, S. Bradley, Gehrels, Neil, Cannizzo, John, Chen, Hsin-Yu, Holz, Daniel E., Farr, Ben, Farr, Will M., Veitch, John, Berry, Christopher P. L., Mandel, Ilya, Price, Larry R., Raymond, Vivien, Kasliwal, Mansi M., Nissanke, Samaya, Coughlin, Michael, Urban, Alex L., Vitale, Salvatore, Mohapatra, Satya, & Graff, Philip. GOING THE DISTANCE: MAPPING HOST GALAXIES OF LIGO AND VIRGO SOURCES IN THREE DIMENSIONS USING LOCAL COSMOGRAPHY AND TARGETED FOLLOW-UP. United States. doi:10.3847/2041-8205/829/1/L15.
Singer, Leo P., Cenko, S. Bradley, Gehrels, Neil, Cannizzo, John, Chen, Hsin-Yu, Holz, Daniel E., Farr, Ben, Farr, Will M., Veitch, John, Berry, Christopher P. L., Mandel, Ilya, Price, Larry R., Raymond, Vivien, Kasliwal, Mansi M., Nissanke, Samaya, Coughlin, Michael, Urban, Alex L., Vitale, Salvatore, Mohapatra, Satya, and Graff, Philip. 2016. "GOING THE DISTANCE: MAPPING HOST GALAXIES OF LIGO AND VIRGO SOURCES IN THREE DIMENSIONS USING LOCAL COSMOGRAPHY AND TARGETED FOLLOW-UP". United States. doi:10.3847/2041-8205/829/1/L15.
@article{osti_22654471,
title = {GOING THE DISTANCE: MAPPING HOST GALAXIES OF LIGO AND VIRGO SOURCES IN THREE DIMENSIONS USING LOCAL COSMOGRAPHY AND TARGETED FOLLOW-UP},
author = {Singer, Leo P. and Cenko, S. Bradley and Gehrels, Neil and Cannizzo, John and Chen, Hsin-Yu and Holz, Daniel E. and Farr, Ben and Farr, Will M. and Veitch, John and Berry, Christopher P. L. and Mandel, Ilya and Price, Larry R. and Raymond, Vivien and Kasliwal, Mansi M. and Nissanke, Samaya and Coughlin, Michael and Urban, Alex L. and Vitale, Salvatore and Mohapatra, Satya and Graff, Philip},
abstractNote = {The Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) discovered gravitational waves (GWs) from a binary black hole merger in 2015 September and may soon observe signals from neutron star mergers. There is considerable interest in searching for their faint and rapidly fading electromagnetic (EM) counterparts, though GW position uncertainties are as coarse as hundreds of square degrees. Because LIGO’s sensitivity to binary neutron stars is limited to the local universe, the area on the sky that must be searched could be reduced by weighting positions by mass, luminosity, or star formation in nearby galaxies. Since GW observations provide information about luminosity distance, combining the reconstructed volume with positions and redshifts of galaxies could reduce the area even more dramatically. A key missing ingredient has been a rapid GW parameter estimation algorithm that reconstructs the full distribution of sky location and distance. We demonstrate the first such algorithm, which takes under a minute, fast enough to enable immediate EM follow-up. By combining the three-dimensional posterior with a galaxy catalog, we can reduce the number of galaxies that could conceivably host the event by a factor of 1.4, the total exposure time for the Swift X-ray Telescope by a factor of 2, the total exposure time for a synoptic optical survey by a factor of 2, and the total exposure time for a narrow-field optical telescope by a factor of 3. This encourages us to suggest a new role for small field of view optical instruments in performing targeted searches of the most massive galaxies within the reconstructed volumes.},
doi = {10.3847/2041-8205/829/1/L15},
journal = {Astrophysical Journal Letters},
number = 1,
volume = 829,
place = {United States},
year = 2016,
month = 9
}
  • This is a supplement to the Letter of Singer et al., in which we demonstrated a rapid algorithm for obtaining joint 3D estimates of sky location and luminosity distance from observations of binary neutron star mergers with Advanced LIGO and Virgo. We argued that combining the reconstructed volumes with positions and redshifts of possible host galaxies can provide large-aperture but small field of view instruments with a manageable list of targets to search for optical or infrared emission. In this Supplement, we document the new HEALPix-based file format for 3D localizations of gravitational-wave transients. We include Python sample code tomore » show the reader how to perform simple manipulations of the 3D sky maps and extract ranked lists of likely host galaxies. Finally, we include mathematical details of the rapid volume reconstruction algorithm.« less
  • A photographic atlas and a listing is given for 75 galaxies in the 6/sup 0/ (radius) core of the Virgo cluster that show promise of resolution into individual red and blue supergiants with Space Telescope. Such resolution, together with measurements of the apparent magnitudes of the stars, is expected to give a distance to the cluster core and therefrom the global value of the Hubble constant as H/sub 0/ = (50 +- 7) (21.5/r/sub Virgo/) km s/sup -1/ Mpc/sup -1/.
  • We anticipate the first direct detections of gravitational waves (GWs) with Advanced LIGO and Virgo later this decade. Though this groundbreaking technical achievement will be its own reward, a still greater prize could be observations of compact binary mergers in both gravitational and electromagnetic channels simultaneously. During Advanced LIGO and Virgo's first two years of operation, 2015 through 2016, we expect the global GW detector array to improve in sensitivity and livetime and expand from two to three detectors. We model the detection rate and the sky localization accuracy for binary neutron star (BNS) mergers across this transition. We havemore » analyzed a large, astrophysically motivated source population using real-time detection and sky localization codes and higher-latency parameter estimation codes that have been expressly built for operation in the Advanced LIGO/Virgo era. We show that for most BNS events, the rapid sky localization, available about a minute after a detection, is as accurate as the full parameter estimation. We demonstrate that Advanced Virgo will play an important role in sky localization, even though it is anticipated to come online with only one-third as much sensitivity as the Advanced LIGO detectors. We find that the median 90% confidence region shrinks from ∼500 deg{sup 2} in 2015 to ∼200 deg{sup 2} in 2016. A few distinct scenarios for the first LIGO/Virgo detections emerge from our simulations.« less
  • We present two different search methods for electromagnetic counterparts to gravitational-wave (GW) events from ground-based detectors using archival NASA high-energy data from the Fermi Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM) and RXTE All-sky Monitor (ASM) instruments. To demonstrate the methods, we use a limited number of representative GW background noise events produced by a search for binary neutron star coalescence over the last two months of the LIGO-Virgo S6/VSR3 joint science run. Time and sky location provided by the GW data trigger a targeted search in the high-energy photon data. We use two custom pipelines: one to search for prompt gamma-ray counterpartsmore » in GBM, and the other to search for a variety of X-ray afterglow model signals in ASM. We measure the efficiency of the joint pipelines to weak gamma-ray burst counterparts, and a family of model X-ray afterglows. By requiring a detectable signal in either electromagnetic instrument coincident with a GW event, we are able to reject a large majority of GW candidates. This reduces the signal-to-noise ratio of the loudest surviving GW background event by around 15–20%.« less
  • We present the properties of NGC 4993, the host galaxy of GW170817, the first gravitational wave (GW) event from the merger of a binary neutron star (BNS) system and the first with an electromagnetic (EM) counterpart. We use both archival photometry and new optical/near-IR imaging and spectroscopy, together with stellar population synthesis models to infer the global properties of the host galaxy. We infer a star formation history peaked atmore » $$\gtrsim 10$$ Gyr ago, with subsequent exponential decline leading to a low current star formation rate of 0.01 M$$_{\odot}$$ yr$$^{-1}$$, which we convert into a binary merger timescale probability distribution. We find a median merger timescale of $$11.2^{+0.7}_{-1.4}$$ Gyr, with a 90% confidence range of $6.8-13.6$ Gyr. This in turn indicates an initial binary separation of $$\approx 4.5$$ R$$_{\odot}$$, comparable to the inferred values for Galactic BNS systems. We also use new and archival $Hubble$ $Space$ $Telescope$ images to measure a projected offset of the optical counterpart of $2.1$ kpc (0.64$$r_{e}$$) from the center of NGC 4993 and to place a limit of $$M_{r} \gtrsim -7.2$$ mag on any pre-existing emission, which rules out the brighter half of the globular cluster luminosity function. Finally, the age and offset of the system indicates it experienced a modest natal kick with an upper limit of $$\sim 200$$ km s$$^{-1}$$. Future GW$-$EM observations of BNS mergers will enable measurement of their population delay time distribution, which will directly inform their viability as the dominant source of $r$-process enrichment in the Universe.« less