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A search for optical emission from binary black hole merger GW170814 with the Dark Energy Camera

A search for optical emission from binary black hole merger GW170814 with the Dark Energy Camera
A search for optical emission from binary black hole merger GW170814 with the Dark Energy Camera

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.

gravitational waves, stars: black holes, surveys, techniques: photometric
2041-8205
Doctor, Z.
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Smith, M.
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DES Collaboration
Doctor, Z.
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Kessler, R.
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Annis, J.
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Smith, M.
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Smith, M. , DES Collaboration (2019) A search for optical emission from binary black hole merger GW170814 with the Dark Energy Camera. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 873 (2), [L24]. (doi:10.3847/2041-8213/ab08a3).

Record type: Article

Abstract

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.

This record has no associated files available for download.

More information

Accepted/In Press date: 19 February 2019
Published date: 15 March 2019
Keywords: gravitational waves, stars: black holes, surveys, techniques: photometric

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 431878
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/431878
ISSN: 2041-8205
PURE UUID: ad38221c-68c2-4db7-9d93-b22555299153
ORCID for M. Smith: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-3321-1432

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 20 Jun 2019 16:30
Last modified: 26 Nov 2021 03:03

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Contributors

Author: Z. Doctor
Author: R. Kessler
Author: K. Herner
Author: A. Palmese
Author: M. Soares-Santos
Author: J. Annis
Author: D. Brout
Author: D. E. Holz
Author: M. Sako
Author: A. Rest
Author: P. Cowperthwaite
Author: E. Berger
Author: R. J. Foley
Author: C. J. Conselice
Author: M. S.S. Gill
Author: S. Allam
Author: E. Balbinot
Author: R. E. Butler
Author: H. Y. Chen
Author: R. Chornock
Author: E. Cook
Author: H. T. Diehl
Author: B. Farr
Author: W. Fong
Author: J. Frieman
Author: C. Fryer
Author: J. García-Bellido
Author: R. Margutti
Author: J. L. Marshall
Author: T. Matheson
Author: B. D. Metzger
Author: M. Nicholl
Author: F. Paz-Chinchón
Author: S. Salim
Author: M. Sauseda
Author: L. F. Secco
Author: R. C. Smith
Author: N. Smith
Author: A. K. Vivas
Author: D. L. Tucker
Author: T. M.C. Abbott
Author: S. Avila
Author: K. Bechtol
Author: E. Bertin
Author: D. Brooks
Author: E. Buckley-Geer
Author: D. L. Burke
Author: A. Carnero Rosell
Author: C. B. D'Andrea
Author: M. Smith ORCID iD
Corporate Author: DES Collaboration

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