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An Infrared Search for Kilonovae with the WINTER Telescope. I. Binary Neutron Star Mergers

Frostig, Danielle and Biscoveanu, Sylvia and Mo, Geoffrey and Karambelkar, Viraj and Dal Canton, Tito and Chen, Hsin-Yu and Kasliwal, Mansi and Katsavounidis, Erik and Lourie, Nathan P. and Simcoe, Robert A. and Vitale, Salvatore (2022) An Infrared Search for Kilonovae with the WINTER Telescope. I. Binary Neutron Star Mergers. Astrophysical Journal, 926 (2). Art. No. 152. ISSN 0004-637X. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/ac4508.

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The Wide-Field Infrared Transient Explorer (WINTER) is a new 1 deg² seeing-limited time-domain survey instrument designed for dedicated near-infrared follow-up of kilonovae from binary neutron star (BNS) and neutron star–black hole mergers. WINTER will observe in the near-infrared Y, J, and short-H bands (0.9–1.7 μm, to J_(AB) = 21 mag) on a dedicated 1 m telescope at Palomar Observatory. To date, most prompt kilonova follow-up has been in optical wavelengths; however, near-infrared emission fades more slowly and depends less on geometry and viewing angle than optical emission. We present an end-to-end simulation of a follow-up campaign during the fourth observing run (O4) of the LIGO, Virgo, and KAGRA interferometers, including simulating 625 BNS mergers, their detection in gravitational waves, low-latency and full parameter estimation skymaps, and a suite of kilonova lightcurves from two different model grids. We predict up to five new kilonovae independently discovered by WINTER during O4, given a realistic BNS merger rate. Using a larger grid of kilonova parameters, we find that kilonova emission is ≈2 times longer lived and red kilonovae are detected ≈1.5 times further in the infrared than in the optical. For 90% localization areas smaller than 150 (450) deg², WINTER will be sensitive to more than 10% of the kilonova model grid out to 350 (200) Mpc. We develop a generalized toolkit to create an optimal BNS follow-up strategy with any electromagnetic telescope and present WINTER’s observing strategy with this framework. This toolkit, all simulated gravitational-wave events, and skymaps are made available for use by the community.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Frostig, Danielle0000-0002-7197-9004
Biscoveanu, Sylvia0000-0001-7616-7366
Mo, Geoffrey0000-0001-6331-112X
Karambelkar, Viraj0000-0003-2758-159X
Dal Canton, Tito0000-0001-5078-9044
Chen, Hsin-Yu0000-0001-5403-3762
Kasliwal, Mansi0000-0002-5619-4938
Simcoe, Robert A.0000-0003-3769-9559
Vitale, Salvatore0000-0003-2700-0767
Additional Information:© 2022. The Author(s). Published by the American Astronomical Society. Original content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence. Any further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the title of the work, journal citation and DOI. Received 2021 September 22; revised 2021 November 17; accepted 2021 December 14; published 2022 February 21. The authors thank Michael Coughlin for his support integrating WINTER into gwemopt and for help with gwemlightcurves. WINTER's construction is made possible by the National Science Foundation under MRI grant No. AST-1828470. We also acknowledge significant support for WINTER from the California Institute of Technology, the Caltech Optical Observatories, the Bruno Rossi Fund of the MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, and the MIT Department of Physics and School of Science. S.B., G.M., H.-Y.C., E.K., and S.V. acknowledge support of the National Science Foundation and the LIGO Laboratory. LIGO was constructed by the California Institute of Technology and Massachusetts Institute of Technology with funding from the National Science Foundation and operates under cooperative agreement PHY-0757058. S.V. is supported by the NSF through award PHY-2045740. S.B. is also supported by the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship under grant No. DGE-1122374. G.M. is supported by the NSF through award PHY-1764464. M.M.K. acknowledges generous support from the David and Lucille Packard Foundation. The authors are grateful for computational resources provided by the LIGO Lab and supported by NSF Grants PHY-0757058 and PHY-0823459. This paper carries LIGO document number LIGO-P2100340. Software: astropy (Astropy Collaboration et al. 2013), gwemopt (Coughlin et al. 2018b), gwemlightcurves (Coughlin et al. 2018a, 2019a; Dietrich et al. 2020), matplotlib (Hunter 2007), numpy (Harris et al. 2020), ligo.skymap (Singer & Price 2016; Singer et al. 2016a, 2016b), pandas (McKinney et al. 2010), bilby (Ashton et al. 2019; Romero-Shaw et al. 2020), PyCBC Live (Nitz et al. 2018; Dal Canton et al. 2021), PyMultinest (Feroz & Hobson 2008; Feroz et al. 2009, 2019; Buchner et al. 2014).
Group:LIGO, Astronomy Department
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSF Graduate Research FellowshipDGE-1122374
Subject Keywords:Infrared telescopes; Gravitational wave astronomy; Neutron stars
Other Numbering System:
Other Numbering System NameOther Numbering System ID
LIGO DocumentP2100340
Issue or Number:2
Classification Code:Unified Astronomy Thesaurus concepts: Infrared telescopes (794); Gravitational wave astronomy (675); Neutron stars (1108)
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20220222-706654000
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Danielle Frostig et al 2022 ApJ 926 152
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:113528
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:23 Feb 2022 02:11
Last Modified:23 Feb 2022 02:11

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