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An Empirical Study of Contamination in Deep, Rapid, and Wide-field Optical Follow-up of Gravitational Wave Events
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Number of Authors: 132018 (English)In: Astrophysical Journal, ISSN 0004-637X, E-ISSN 1538-4357, Vol. 858, no 1, article id 18Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We present an empirical study of contamination in wide-field optical follow-up searches of gravitational wave sources from Advanced LIGO/Virgo using dedicated observations with the Dark Energy Camera. Our search covered similar to 56 deg(2), with two visits per night, in the i and z bands, followed by an additional set of griz images three weeks later to serve as reference images for subtraction. We achieve 5 sigma point-source limiting magnitudes of i approximate to 23.5 and z approximate to 22.4 mag in the coadded single-epoch images. We conduct a search for transient objects that mimic the i - z color behavior of both red (i-z > 0.5 mag) and blue (i-z < 0 mag) kilonova emission, finding 11 and 10 contaminants, respectively. Independent of color, we identify 48 transients of interest. Additionally, we leverage the rapid cadence of our observations to search for sources with characteristic timescales of approximate to 1 day and approximate to 3 hr, finding no potential contaminants. We assess the efficiency of our search with injected point sources, finding that we are 90% (60%) efficient when searching for red (blue) kilonova-like sources to a limiting magnitude of i less than or similar to 22.5 mag. Using our efficiencies, we derive sky rates for kilonova contaminants of R-red approximate to 0.16 deg(-2) and R-blue approximate to 0.80 deg(-2). The total contamination rate is R-all approximate to 1.79 deg(-2). We compare our results to previous optical follow-up efforts and comment on the outlook for gravitational wave follow-up searches as additional detectors (e.g., KAGRA, LIGO India) come online in the next decade.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 858, no 1, article id 18
Keywords [en]
binaries: close, catalogs, gravitational waves, stars: neutron, surveys
National Category
Physical Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-156643DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/aabad9ISI: 000431051500009OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-156643DiVA, id: diva2:1214847
Available from: 2018-06-07 Created: 2018-06-07 Last updated: 2018-06-07Bibliographically approved

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Cowperthwaite, P. S.Williams, P. K. G.Margutti, R.Lunnan, Ragnhild
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Department of AstronomyThe Oskar Klein Centre for Cosmo Particle Physics (OKC)
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