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iPTF Search for an Optical Counterpart to Gravitational-wave Transient GW150914

Kasliwal, M. M. and Cao, Y. and Barlow, T. and Bellm, E. and Cook, D. and Duggan, G. E. and Kulkarni, S. R. and Lunnan, R. and Laher, R. and Masci, F. and Miller, A. A. and Prince, T. A. and Surace, J. (2016) iPTF Search for an Optical Counterpart to Gravitational-wave Transient GW150914. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 824 (2). Art. No. L24. ISSN 2041-8205.

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The intermediate Palomar Transient Factory (iPTF) autonomously responded to and promptly tiled the error region of the first gravitational-wave event GW150914 to search for an optical counterpart. Only a small fraction of the total localized region was immediately visible in the northern night sky, due both to Sun-angle and elevation constraints. Here, we report on the transient candidates identified and rapid follow-up undertaken to determine the nature of each candidate. Even in the small area imaged of 126 deg^2, after extensive filtering, eight candidates were deemed worthy of additional follow-up. Within two hours, all eight were spectroscopically classified by the Keck II telescope. Curiously, even though such events are rare, one of our candidates was a superluminous supernova. We obtained radio data with the Jansky Very Large Array and X-ray follow-up with the Swift satellite for this transient. None of our candidates appear to be associated with the gravitational-wave trigger, which is unsurprising given that GW150914 came from the merger of two stellar-mass black holes. This end-to-end discovery and follow-up campaign bodes well for future searches in this post-detection era of gravitational waves.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Kasliwal, M. M.0000-0002-5619-4938
Cao, Y.0000-0002-8036-8491
Bellm, E.0000-0001-8018-5348
Duggan, G. E.0000-0002-9256-6735
Kulkarni, S. R.0000-0001-5390-8563
Lunnan, R.0000-0001-9454-4639
Laher, R.0000-0003-2451-5482
Masci, F.0000-0002-8532-9395
Miller, A. A.0000-0001-9515-478X
Prince, T. A.0000-0002-8850-3627
Surace, J.0000-0001-7291-0087
Alternate Title:iPTF Search for an Optical Counterpart to Gravitational Wave Trigger GW150914
Additional Information:© 2016 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2016 February 28; revised 2016 May 25; accepted 2016 May 26; published 2016 June 17. Based on observations obtained with the Samuel Oschin Telescope 48 inch and the 60 inch Telescope at the Palomar Observatory as part of the iPTF project, a scientific collaboration among the California Institute of Technology, Los Alamos National Laboratory, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the Oskar Klein Center, the Weizmann Institute of Science, the TANGO Program of the University System of Taiwan, and the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the universe. M.M.K., R.L., and Y.C. acknowledge support from the National Science Foundation PIRE program grant 1545949. A.A.M. acknowledges support from the Hubble Fellowship HST-HF-51325.01. P.E.N. and Y.C. acknowledge support from the DOE under grant DE-AC02-05CH11231, Analytical Modeling for Extreme-Scale Computing Environments. The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc. A.C. and N.P. acknowledge support from NSF CAREER award 1455090. Part of the research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with NASA. M.M.K. thanks Brian Metzger for providing us theoretical light curves for neutron-powered precursors. We thank the referee for constructive feedback.
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC), Palomar Transient Factory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASA Hubble FellowshipHST-HF-51325.01
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-AC02-05CH11231
Subject Keywords:gravitational waves; methods: observational; techniques: spectroscopic; surveys
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20160719-073716715
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:M. M. Kasliwal et al 2016 ApJ 824 L24
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:69103
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:19 Jul 2016 15:46
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:19

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