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This content will become publicly available on March 1, 2023

Title: Kilonova Detectability with Wide-field Instruments
Abstract Kilonovae are ultraviolet, optical, and infrared transients powered by the radioactive decay of heavy elements following a neutron star merger. Joint observations of kilonovae and gravitational waves can offer key constraints on the source of Galactic r -process enrichment, among other astrophysical topics. However, robust constraints on heavy element production require rapid kilonova detection (within ∼1 day of merger) as well as multiwavelength observations across multiple epochs. In this study, we quantify the ability of 13 wide-field-of-view instruments to detect kilonovae, leveraging a large grid of over 900 radiative transfer simulations with 54 viewing angles per simulation. We consider both current and upcoming instruments, collectively spanning the full kilonova spectrum. The Roman Space Telescope has the highest redshift reach of any instrument in the study, observing kilonovae out to z ∼ 1 within the first day post-merger. We demonstrate that BlackGEM, DECam, GOTO, the Vera C. Rubin Observatory’s LSST, ULTRASAT, VISTA, and WINTER can observe some kilonovae out to z ∼ 0.1 (∼475 Mpc), while DDOTI, MeerLICHT, PRIME, Swift/UVOT, and ZTF are confined to more nearby observations. Furthermore, we provide a framework to infer kilonova ejecta properties following nondetections and explore variation in detectability with these ejecta parameters.
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The Astrophysical Journal
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National Science Foundation
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