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Implications of the search for optical counterparts during the second part of the Advanced LIGO’s and Advanced Virgo’s third observing run: lessons learned for future follow-up observations

Coughlin, Michael W. and Dietrich, Tim and Antier, Sarah and Almualla, Mouza and Anand, Shreya and Bulla, Mattia and Foucart, Francois and Guessoum, Nidhal and Hotokezaka, Kenta and Kumar, Vishwesh and Raaijmakers, Geert and Nissanke, Samaya (2020) Implications of the search for optical counterparts during the second part of the Advanced LIGO’s and Advanced Virgo’s third observing run: lessons learned for future follow-up observations. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 497 (1). pp. 1181-1196. ISSN 0035-8711.

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Joint multimessenger observations with gravitational waves and electromagnetic (EM) data offer new insights into the astrophysical studies of compact objects. The third Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo observing run began on 2019 April 1; during the 11 months of observation, there have been 14 compact binary systems candidates for which at least one component is potentially a neutron star. Although intensive follow-up campaigns involving tens of ground and space-based observatories searched for counterparts, no EM counterpart has been detected. Following on a previous study of the first six months of the campaign, we present in this paper the next five months of the campaign from 2019 October to 2020 March. We highlight two neutron star–black hole candidates (S191205ah and S200105ae), two binary neutron star candidates (S191213g and S200213t), and a binary merger with a possible neutron star and a ‘MassGap’ component, S200115j. Assuming that the gravitational-wave (GW) candidates are of astrophysical origin and their location was covered by optical telescopes, we derive possible constraints on the matter ejected during the events based on the non-detection of counterparts. We find that the follow-up observations during the second half of the third observing run did not meet the necessary sensitivity to constrain the source properties of the potential GW candidate. Consequently, we suggest that different strategies have to be used to allow a better usage of the available telescope time. We examine different choices for follow-up surveys to optimize sky localization coverage versus observational depth to understand the likelihood of counterpart detection.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper ItemCode
Coughlin, Michael W.0000-0002-8262-2924
Dietrich, Tim0000-0003-2374-307X
Antier, Sarah0000-0002-7686-3334
Almualla, Mouza0000-0002-4694-7123
Anand, Shreya0000-0003-3768-7515
Bulla, Mattia0000-0002-8255-5127
Foucart, Francois0000-0003-4617-4738
Guessoum, Nidhal0000-0003-1585-8205
Hotokezaka, Kenta0000-0002-2502-3730
Raaijmakers, Geert0000-0002-9397-786X
Nissanke, Samaya0000-0001-6573-7773
Additional Information:© 2020 The Author(s) Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model ( Accepted 2020 June 29. Received 2020 June 25; in original form 2020 May 25. SA is supported by the CNES Postdoctoral Fellowship at Laboratoire Astroparticle et Cosmologie. MWC acknowledges support from the National Science Foundation with grant number PHY-2010970. FF gratefully acknowledges support from NASA through grant 80NSSC18K0565, from the NSF through grant PHY-1806278, and from the DOE through CAREER grant DE-SC0020435. SGA acknowledges support from the GROWTH (Global Relay of Observatories Watching Transients Happen) project funded by the National Science Foundation under PIRE Grant No 1545949. GR and SN are grateful for support from the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO) through the VIDI and Projectruimte grants (PI Nissanke). The light-curve fitting/upper limits code used here is available at: We also thank Kerry Paterson, Samuel Dilon Wyatt, and Owen McBrien for giving explanations of their observations. DATA AVAILABILITY. The data underlying this article are derived from public code found here: The simulations resulting will be shared on reasonable request to the corresponding author.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES)UNSPECIFIED
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-SC0020435
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:gravitational waves, methods: statistical
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20201022-161609281
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Official Citation:Michael W Coughlin, Tim Dietrich, Sarah Antier, Mouza Almualla, Shreya Anand, Mattia Bulla, Francois Foucart, Nidhal Guessoum, Kenta Hotokezaka, Vishwesh Kumar, Geert Raaijmakers, Samaya Nissanke, Implications of the search for optical counterparts during the second part of the Advanced LIGO’s and Advanced Virgo’s third observing run: lessons learned for future follow-up observations, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 497, Issue 1, September 2020, Pages 1181–1196,
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:106242
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:23 Oct 2020 17:38
Last Modified:23 Oct 2020 17:38

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