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Published July 20, 2016 | Published + Submitted + Supplemental Material
Journal Article Open

Localization and Broadband Follow-up of the Gravitational-wave Transient GW150914


A gravitational-wave (GW) transient was identified in data recorded by the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors on 2015 September 14. The event, initially designated G184098 and later given the name GW150914, is described in detail elsewhere. By prior arrangement, preliminary estimates of the time, significance, and sky location of the event were shared with 63 teams of observers covering radio, optical, near-infrared, X-ray, and gamma-ray wavelengths with ground- and space-based facilities. In this Letter we describe the low-latency analysis of the GW data and present the sky localization of the first observed compact binary merger. We summarize the follow-up observations reported by 25 teams via private Gamma-ray Coordinates Network circulars, giving an overview of the participating facilities, the GW sky localization coverage, the timeline, and depth of the observations. As this event turned out to be a binary black hole merger, there is little expectation of a detectable electromagnetic (EM) signature. Nevertheless, this first broadband campaign to search for a counterpart of an Advanced LIGO source represents a milestone and highlights the broad capabilities of the transient astronomy community and the observing strategies that have been developed to pursue neutron star binary merger events. Detailed investigations of the EM data and results of the EM follow-up campaign are being disseminated in papers by the individual teams.

Additional Information

© 2016 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2016 February 29; revised 2016 April 26; accepted 2016 May 2; published 2016 July 20. The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the United States National Science Foundation (NSF) for the construction and operation of the LIGO Laboratory and Advanced LIGO as well as the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) of the United Kingdom, the Max-Planck Society (MPS), and the State of Niedersachsen/Germany for support of the construction of Advanced LIGO and construction and operation of the GEO 600 detector. Additional support for Advanced LIGO was provided by the Australian Research Council. The authors gratefully acknowledge the Italian Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN), the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), and the Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter supported by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, for the construction and operation of the Virgo detector, and the creation and support of the EGO consortium. The authors also gratefully acknowledge research support from these agencies as well as by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research of India, Department of Science and Technology, India, Science & Engineering Research Board (SERB), India, Ministry of Human Resource Development, India, the Spanish Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad, the Conselleria d'Economia i Competitivitat and Conselleria d'Educació Cultura i Universitats of the Govern de les Illes Balears, the National Science Centre of Poland, the European Commission, the Royal Society, the Scottish Funding Council, the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance, the Hungarian Scientific Research Fund (OTKA), the Lyon Institute of Origins (LIO), the National Research Foundation of Korea, Industry Canada and the Province of Ontario through the Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation, the National Science and Engineering Research Council Canada, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation, Russian Foundation for Basic Research, the Leverhulme Trust, the Research Corporation, Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), Taiwan, and the Kavli Foundation. The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the NSF, STFC, MPS, INFN, CNRS, and the State of Niedersachsen/Germany for provision of computational resources. The Australian SKA Pathfinder is part of the Australia Telescope National Facility which is managed by CSIRO. The operation of ASKAP is funded by the Australian Government with support from the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy. Establishment of the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory was funded by the Australian Government and the Government of Western Australia. ASKAP uses advanced supercomputing resources at the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre. We acknowledge the Wajarri Yamatji people as the traditional owners of the Observatory site. A.J.C.T. acknowledges support from the Junta de Andalucía (Project P07-TIC-03094) and Univ. of Auckland and NIWA for installing of the Spanish BOOTES-3 station in New Zealand, and support from the Spanish Ministry Projects AYA2012-39727-C03-01 and 2015-71718R. Funding for the DES Projects has been provided by the United States Department of Energy, the United States National Science Foundation, the Ministry of Science and Education of Spain, the Science and Technology Facilities Council of the United Kingdom, the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Kavli Institute of Cosmological Physics at the University of Chicago, the Center for Cosmology and Astro-Particle Physics at the Ohio State University, the Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics and Astronomy at Texas A&M University, Financiadora de Estudos e Projetos, Fundação Carlos Chagas Filho de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico and the Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovação, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, and the Collaborating Institutions in the Dark Energy Survey. The Collaborating Institutions are Argonne National Laboratory, the University of California at Santa Cruz, the University of Cambridge, Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas-Madrid, the University of Chicago, University College London, the DES-Brazil Consortium, the University of Edinburgh, the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) Zürich, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Institut de Ciències de l'Espai (IEEC/CSIC), the Institut de Física d'Altes Energies, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München and the associated Excellence Cluster universe, the University of Michigan, the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, the University of Nottingham, The Ohio State University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Portsmouth, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Stanford University, the University of Sussex, and Texas A&M University. The DES data management system is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number AST-1138766. The DES participants from Spanish institutions are partially supported by MINECO under grants AYA2012-39559, ESP2013-48274, FPA2013-47986, and Centro de Excelencia Severo Ochoa SEV-2012-0234. Research leading to these results has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) including ERC grant agreements 240672, 291329, and 306478. The Fermi LAT Collaboration acknowledges support for LAT development, operation, and data analysis from NASA and DOE (United States), CEA/Irfu and IN2P3/CNRS (France), ASI and INFN (Italy), MEXT, KEK, and JAXA (Japan), and the K.A. Wallenberg Foundation, the Swedish Research Council and the National Space Board (Sweden). Science analysis support in the operations phase from INAF (Italy) and CNES (France) is also gratefully acknowledged. The Fermi GBM Collaboration acknowledges the support of NASA in the United States and DRL in Germany. GRAWITA acknowledges the support of INAF for the project "Gravitational Wave Astronomy with the first detections of adLIGO and adVIRGO experiments." This work exploited data by INTEGRAL, an ESA project with instruments and science data center funded by ESA member states (especially the PI countries: Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Spain), and with the participation of Russia and the USA. The SPI ACS detector system has been provided by MPE Garching/Germany. We acknowledge the German INTEGRAL support through DLR grant 50 OG 1101. IPN work is supported in the US under NASA Grant NNX15AU74G. This work is partly based on observations obtained with the Samuel Oschin 48 in Telescope and the 60 in Telescope at the Palomar Observatory as part of the Intermediate Palomar Transient Factory (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. and Y.C. acknowledge funding from the National Science Foundation PIRE program grant 1545949. A.A.M. acknowledges support from the Hubble Fellowship HST-HF-51325.01. Part of the research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with NASA. J-GEM is financially supported by KAKENHI Grant No. 24103003, 15H00774, and 15H00788 of MEXT Japan, 15H02069 and 15H02075 of JSPS, and the "Optical and Near-Infrared Astronomy Inter-University Cooperation Program" supported by MEXT. The Liverpool Telescope is operated on the island of La Palma by Liverpool John Moores University in the Spanish Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos of the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias with financial support from the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council. LOFAR, the Low Frequency Array designed and constructed by ASTRON, has facilities in several countries, which are owned by various parties (each with their own funding sources), and that are collectively operated by the International LOFAR Telescope (ILT) foundation under a joint scientific policy. R. Fender acknowledges support from ERC Advanced Investigator Grant 267697. MASTER Global Robotic Net is supported in parts by Lomonosov Moscow State University Development programm, Moscow Union OPTICA, Russian Science Foundation 16-12-00085, RFBR15-02-07875, National Research Foundation of South Africa. We thank JAXA and RIKEN for providing MAXI data. The MAXI team is partially supported by KAKENHI grant Nos. 24103002, 24540239, 24740186, and 23000004 of MEXT, Japan. This work uses the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory, operated by CSIRO. We acknowledge the Wajarri Yamatji people as the traditional owners of the observatory site. Support for the operation of the MWA is provided by the Australian Government Department of Industry and Science and Department of Education (National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy: NCRIS), under a contract to Curtin University administered by Astronomy Australia Limited. The MWA acknowledges the iVEC Petabyte Data Store and the Initiative in Innovative Computing and the CUDA Center for Excellence sponsored by NVIDIA at Harvard University. Pan-STARRS is supported by the University of Hawaii and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Planetary Defense Office under grant No. NNX14AM74G. The Pan-STARRS-LIGO effort is in collaboration with the LIGO Consortium and supported by Queen's University Belfast. The Pan-STARRS1 Sky Surveys have been made possible through contributions by the Institute for Astronomy, the University of Hawaii, the Pan-STARRS Project Office, the Max Planck Society and its participating institutes, the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg, and the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Garching, The Johns Hopkins University, Durham University, the University of Edinburgh, the Queen's University Belfast, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network Incorporated, the National Central University of Taiwan, the Space Telescope Science Institute, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under grant No. NNX08AR22G issued through the Planetary Science Division of the NASA Science Mission Directorate, the National Science Foundation grant No. AST-1238877, the University of Maryland, Eotvos Lorand University (ELTE), and the Los Alamos National Laboratory. This work is based (in part) on observations collected at the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere, Chile as part of PESSTO, (the Public ESO Spectroscopic Survey for Transient Objects Survey) ESO programs 188.D-3003, 191.D-0935. Some of the data presented herein were obtained at the Palomar Observatory, California Institute of Technology. S.J.S. acknowledges funding from the European Research Council under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013)/ERC Grant agreement No. [291222] and STFC grants ST/I001123/1 and ST/L000709/1. M.F. is supported by the European Union FP7 programme through ERC grant No. 320360. K.M. acknowledges support from the STFC through an Ernest Rutherford Fellowship. F.O.E. acknowledges support from FONDECYT through postdoctoral grant 3140326. Parts of this research were conducted by the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for All-sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO), through project No. CE110001020. Funding for Swift is provided by NASA in the US, by the UK Space Agency in the UK, and by the Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI) in Italy. This work made use of data supplied by the UK Swift Science Data Centre at the University of Leicester. We acknowledge the use of public data from the Swift data archive. The TOROS Collaboration acknowledges support from Ministerio de Ciencia y Tecnología (MinCyT) and Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Cientificas y Tecnológicas (CONICET) from Argentina and grants from the USA NSF PHYS 1156600 and NSF HRD 1242090. The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc. VST and VISTA observations were performed at the European Southern Observatory, Paranal, Chile. We acknowledge ESO personnel for their assistance during the observing runs.

Attached Files

Submitted - 1602.08492v4.pdf

Published - Abbott_2016_ApJL_826_L13.pdf

Supplemental Material - Abbott_2016_ApJS_225_8.pdf


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