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SOAR/Goodman Spectroscopic Assessment of Candidate Counterparts of the LIGO/Virgo Event GW190814*
Abstract On 2019 August 14 at 21:10:39 UTC, the LIGO/Virgo Collaboration (LVC) detected a possible neutron star–black hole merger (NSBH), the first ever identified. An extensive search for an optical counterpart of this event, designated GW190814, was undertaken using the Dark Energy Camera on the 4 m Victor M. Blanco Telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory. Target of Opportunity interrupts were issued on eight separate nights to observe 11 candidates using the 4.1 m Southern Astrophysical Research (SOAR) telescope’s Goodman High Throughput Spectrograph in order to assess whether any of these transients was likely to be an optical counterpart of the possible NSBH merger. Here, we describe the process of observing with SOAR, the analysis of our spectra, our spectroscopic typing methodology, and our resultant conclusion that none of the candidates corresponded to the gravitational wave merger event but were all instead other transients. Finally, we describe the lessons learned from this effort. Application of these lessons will be critical for a successful community spectroscopic follow-up program for LVC observing run 4 (O4) and beyond.
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Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10334902
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal
Volume:
929
Issue:
2
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
115
ISSN:
0004-637X
We report on the search for the optical counterpart of the gravitational event GW170814, which was carried out with the VLT Survey Telescope (VST) by the GRAvitational Wave Inaf TeAm. Observations started 17.5 h after the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) and Virgo alert and we covered an area of 99 deg2 that encloses $\sim 77{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ and $\sim 59{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ of the initial and refined localization probability regions, respectively. A total of six epochs were secured over nearly two months. The survey reached an average limiting magnitude of 22 AB mag in the r band. Aftermore »