Maximising the detection probability of kilonovae associated with gravitational wave observations

Chan, M. L., Hu, Y., Messenger, C. , Hendry, M. and Heng, I. S. (2017) Maximising the detection probability of kilonovae associated with gravitational wave observations. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 834(1), 84. (doi: 10.3847/1538-4357/834/1/84)

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Estimates of the source sky location for gravitational wave signals are likely to span areas of up to hundreds of square degrees or more, making it very challenging for most telescopes to search for counterpart signals in the electromagnetic spectrum. To boost the chance of successfully observing such counterparts, we have developed an algorithm that optimizes the number of observing fields and their corresponding time allocations by maximizing the detection probability. As a proof-of-concept demonstration, we optimize follow-up observations targeting kilonovae using telescopes including the CTIO-Dark Energy Camera, Subaru-HyperSuprimeCam, Pan-STARRS, and the Palomar Transient Factory. We consider three simulated gravitational wave events with 90% credible error regions spanning areas from $\sim 30\,{\deg }^{2}$ to $\sim 300\,{\deg }^{2}$. Assuming a source at $200\,\mathrm{Mpc}$, we demonstrate that to obtain a maximum detection probability, there is an optimized number of fields for any particular event that a telescope should observe. To inform future telescope design studies, we present the maximum detection probability and corresponding number of observing fields for a combination of limiting magnitudes and fields of view over a range of parameters. We show that for large gravitational wave error regions, telescope sensitivity rather than field of view is the dominating factor in maximizing the detection probability.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Messenger, Dr Christopher and Heng, Professor Ik Siong and Hu, Mr Yiming and Hendry, Professor Martin and Chan, Mr Man Leong
Authors: Chan, M. L., Hu, Y., Messenger, C., Hendry, M., and Heng, I. S.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Physics and Astronomy
Research Centre:College of Science and Engineering > School of Physics and Astronomy > Institute for Gravitational Research
Journal Name:Astrophysical Journal Letters
Publisher:Institute of Physics Publishing Ltd.
ISSN (Online):2041-8213
Published Online:04 January 2017
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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
624341Investigations in Gravitational Radiation / Particle Astrophysics Capital equipmentSheila RowanScience & Technologies Facilities Council (STFC)ST/L000946/1S&E P&A - PHYSICS & ASTRONOMY