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A Search for Optical Emission from Binary Black Hole Merger GW170814 with the Dark Energy Camera

Doctor, Z. and Goldstein, D. A. (2019) A Search for Optical Emission from Binary Black Hole Merger GW170814 with the Dark Energy Camera. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 873 (2). Art. No. L24. ISSN 2041-8213.

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Binary black hole (BBH) mergers found by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and Virgo detectors are of immense scientific interest to the astrophysics community, but are considered unlikely to be sources of electromagnetic emission. To test whether they have rapidly fading optical counterparts, we used the Dark Energy Camera to perform an i-band search for the BBH merger GW170814, the first gravitational wave (GW) detected by three interferometers. The 87 deg^2 localization region (at 90% confidence) centered in the Dark Energy Survey (DES) footprint enabled us to image 86% of the probable sky area to a depth of i ~ 23 mag and provide the most comprehensive data set to search for electromagnetic (EM) emission from BBH mergers. To identify candidates, we perform difference imaging with our search images and with templates from pre-existing Dark Energy Survey (DES) images. The analysis strategy and selection requirements were designed to remove supernovae and to identify transients that decline in the first two epochs. We find two candidates, each of which is spatially coincident with a star or a high-redshift galaxy in the DES catalogs, and they are thus unlikely to be associated with GW170814. Our search finds no candidates associated with GW170814, disfavoring rapidly declining optical emission from BBH mergers brighter than i ~ 23 mag (L_(optical) ~ 5 × 10^(41) erg s^(−1)) 1–2 days after coalescence. In terms of GW sky map coverage, this is the most complete search for optical counterparts to BBH mergers to date.

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URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Goldstein, D. A.0000-0003-3461-8661
Additional Information:© 2019 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2018 December 3; revised 2019 February 15; accepted 2019 February 19; published 2019 March 15. Z.D. would like to thank Reed Essick for useful discussions and would also like to thank the Dark Cosmology Center and Neils Bohr Institute, where he was studying at the time of the GW170814 alert. Z.D. is supported by NSF Graduate Research Fellowship grant DGE-1144082. Z.D. and D.E.H. were partially supported by NSF CAREER grant PHY1151836 and NSF grant PHY-1708081. H.-Y.C. was supported by the Black Hole Initiative at Harvard University, through a grant from the John Templeton Foundation. R.J.F. is supported in part by NASA grant NNG17PX03C, NSF grant AST-1518052, the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation, the Heising-Simons Foundation, and by a fellowship from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. This work was completed in part with resources provided by the University of Chicago Research Computing Center and support from the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics at the University of Chicago through NSF grant PHY-1125897 and an endowment from the Kavli Foundation. Funding for the DES Projects has been provided by the DOE and NSF (USA), MEC/MICINN/MINECO (Spain), STFC (UK), HEFCE (UK). NCSA (UIUC), KICP (U. Chicago), CCAPP (Ohio State), MIFPA (Texas A&M), CNPQ, FAPERJ, FINEP (Brazil), DFG (Germany), and the Collaborating Institutions in the Dark Energy Survey. The Collaborating Institutions are Argonne Lab, UC Santa Cruz, University of Cambridge, CIEMAT-Madrid, University of Chicago, University College London, DES-Brazil Consortium, University of Edinburgh, ETH Zürich, Fermilab, University of Illinois, ICE (IEEC-CSIC), IFAE Barcelona, Lawrence Berkeley Lab, LMU München and the associated Excellence Cluster universe, University of Michigan, NOAO, University of Nottingham, Ohio State University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Portsmouth, SLAC National Lab, Stanford University, University of Sussex, Texas A&M University, and the OzDES Membership Consortium. Based in part on observations at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, National Optical Astronomy Observatory, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation. The DES Data Management System is supported by the NSF under grant No. AST-1138766 and AST-1536171. The DES participants from Spanish institutions are partially supported by MINECO under grants AYA2015-71825, ESP2015-66861, FPA2015-68048, SEV-2016-0588, SEV-2016-0597, and MDM-2015-0509, some of which include ERDF funds from the European Union. IFAE is partially funded by the CERCA program of the Generalitat de Catalunya. Research leading to these results has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union's Seventh Framework Program (FP7/2007–2013) including ERC grant agreements 240672, 291329, and 306478. We acknowledge support from the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for All-sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO), through project number CE110001020, and the Brazilian Instituto Nacional de Ciência e Tecnologia (INCT) e-Universe (CNPq grant 465376/2014-2). This manuscript has been authored by Fermi Research Alliance, LLC under contract No. DE-AC02-07CH11359 with the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of High Energy Physics.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSF Graduate Research FellowshipDGE-1144082
Harvard UniversityUNSPECIFIED
John Templeton FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Heising-Simons FoundationUNSPECIFIED
David and Lucile Packard FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Kavli FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia (MEC)UNSPECIFIED
Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (MCINN)UNSPECIFIED
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)UNSPECIFIED
Higher Education Funding Council for EnglandUNSPECIFIED
University of Illinois Urbana-ChampaignUNSPECIFIED
University of ChicagoUNSPECIFIED
Ohio State UniversityUNSPECIFIED
Texas A&M UniversityUNSPECIFIED
Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ)UNSPECIFIED
Financiadora de Estudos e Projetos (FINEP)UNSPECIFIED
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)UNSPECIFIED
Argonne National LaboratoryUNSPECIFIED
University of California Santa CruzUNSPECIFIED
University of CambridgeUNSPECIFIED
Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y TecnológicasUNSPECIFIED
University College LondonUNSPECIFIED
DES-Brazil ConsortiumUNSPECIFIED
University of EdinburghUNSPECIFIED
University of IllinoisUNSPECIFIED
Institute of Space Sciences (Spain)UNSPECIFIED
Institut de Fisica d'Altes EnergiesUNSPECIFIED
Lawrence Berkeley National LaboratoryUNSPECIFIED
Ludwig Maximilian University of MunichUNSPECIFIED
University of MichiganUNSPECIFIED
National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO)UNSPECIFIED
University of NottinghamUNSPECIFIED
University of PennsylvaniaUNSPECIFIED
University of PortsmouthUNSPECIFIED
Stanford Linear Accelerator CenterUNSPECIFIED
Stanford UniversityUNSPECIFIED
University of SussexUNSPECIFIED
OzDES Membership ConsortiumUNSPECIFIED
Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA)UNSPECIFIED
Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Competitividad (MINECO)AYA2015-71825
Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Competitividad (MINECO)ESP2015-66861
Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Competitividad (MINECO)FPA2015-68048
Centro de Excelencia Severo OchoaSEV-2016-0588
Centro de Excelencia Severo OchoaSEV-2016-0597
Programa Estatal de Fomento de la Investigación Científica y Técnica de Excelencia María de MaeztuMDM-2015-0509
European Regional Development FundUNSPECIFIED
Generalitat de CatalunyaUNSPECIFIED
European Research Council (ERC)240672
European Research Council (ERC)291329
European Research Council (ERC)306478
Australian Research CouncilCE110001020
Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq)465376/2014-2
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-AC02-07CH11359
Subject Keywords:gravitational waves – stars: black holes – surveys – techniques: photometric
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190315-124509857
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Z. Doctor et al 2019 ApJL 873 L24
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:93869
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:15 Mar 2019 20:37
Last Modified:15 Mar 2019 20:37

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