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  1. ABSTRACT Searches for gravitational-wave counterparts have been going in earnest since GW170817 and the discovery of AT2017gfo. Since then, the lack of detection of other optical counterparts connected to binary neutron star or black hole–neutron star candidates has highlighted the need for a better discrimination criterion to support this effort. At the moment, low-latency gravitational-wave alerts contain preliminary information about binary properties and hence whether a detected binary might have an electromagnetic counterpart. The current alert method is a classifier that estimates the probability that there is a debris disc outside the black hole created during the merger as wellmore »as the probability of a signal being a binary neutron star, a black hole–neutron star, a binary black hole, or of terrestrial origin. In this work, we expand upon this approach to both predict the ejecta properties and provide contours of potential light curves for these events, in order to improve the follow-up observation strategy. The various sources of uncertainty are discussed, and we conclude that our ignorance about the ejecta composition and the insufficient constraint of the binary parameters by low-latency pipelines represent the main limitations. To validate the method, we test our approach on real events from the second and third Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO)–Virgo observing runs.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 23, 2022
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2022
  3. ABSTRACT Joint multimessenger observations with gravitational waves and electromagnetic (EM) data offer new insights into the astrophysical studies of compact objects. The third Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo observing run began on 2019 April 1; during the 11 months of observation, there have been 14 compact binary systems candidates for which at least one component is potentially a neutron star. Although intensive follow-up campaigns involving tens of ground and space-based observatories searched for counterparts, no EM counterpart has been detected. Following on a previous study of the first six months of the campaign, we present in this paper the nextmore »five months of the campaign from 2019 October to 2020 March. We highlight two neutron star–black hole candidates (S191205ah and S200105ae), two binary neutron star candidates (S191213g and S200213t), and a binary merger with a possible neutron star and a ‘MassGap’ component, S200115j. Assuming that the gravitational-wave (GW) candidates are of astrophysical origin and their location was covered by optical telescopes, we derive possible constraints on the matter ejected during the events based on the non-detection of counterparts. We find that the follow-up observations during the second half of the third observing run did not meet the necessary sensitivity to constrain the source properties of the potential GW candidate. Consequently, we suggest that different strategies have to be used to allow a better usage of the available telescope time. We examine different choices for follow-up surveys to optimize sky localization coverage versus observational depth to understand the likelihood of counterpart detection.« less
  4. While optical surveys regularly discover slow transients like supernovae on their own, the most common way to discover extragalactic fast transients, fading away in a few nights, is via follow-up observations of gamma-ray burst and gravitational-wave triggers. However, wide-field surveys have the potential to also identify rapidly fading transients independently of such external triggers. The volumetric survey speed of the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) makes it sensitive to faint and fast-fading objects as kilonovae, the optical counterparts to binary neutron stars and neutron star-black hole mergers, out to almost 200Mpc. We introduce an open-source software infrastructure, the ZTF REaltime Searchmore »and Triggering, ZTFReST, designed to identify kilonovae and fast optical transients in ZTF data. Using the ZTF alert stream combined with forced photometry, we have implemented automated candidate ranking based on their photometric evolution and fitting to kilonova models. Automated triggering of follow-up systems, such as Las Cumbres Observatory, has also been implemented. In 13 months of science validation, we found several extragalactic fast transients independent of any external trigger (though some counterparts were identified later), including at least one supernova with post-shock cooling emission, two known afterglows with an associated gamma-ray burst, two known afterglows without any known gamma-ray counterpart, and three new fast-declining sources (ZTF20abtxwfx, ZTF20acozryr, and ZTF21aagwbjr) that are likely associated with GRB200817A, GRB201103B, and GRB210204A. However, we have not found any objects which appear to be kilonovae; therefore, we constrain the rate of GW170817-like kilonovae to R<900Gpc−3yr−1. A framework such as ZTFReST could become a prime tool for kilonova and fast transient discovery with the Vera C. Rubin Observatory.« less
  5. Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are among the brightest and most energetic events in the universe. The duration and hardness distribution of GRBs has two clusters, now understood to reflect (at least) two different progenitors. Short-hard GRBs (SGRBs; T90 <2 s) arise from compact binary mergers, while long-soft GRBs (LGRBs; T90 >2 s) have been attributed to the collapse of peculiar massive stars (collapsars). The discovery of SN 1998bw/GRB 980425 marked the first association of a LGRB with a collapsar and AT 2017gfo/GRB 170817A/GW170817 marked the first association of a SGRB with a binary neutron star merger, producing also gravitational wave (GW).more »Here, we present the discovery of ZTF20abwysqy (AT2020scz), a fast-fading optical transient in the Fermi Satellite and the InterPlanetary Network (IPN) localization regions of GRB 200826A; X-ray and radio emission further confirm that this is the afterglow. Follow-up imaging (at rest-frame 16.5 days) reveals excess emission above the afterglow that cannot be explained as an underlying kilonova (KN), but is consistent with being the supernova (SN). Despite the GRB duration being short (rest-frame T90 of 0.65 s), our panchromatic follow-up data confirms a collapsar origin. GRB 200826A is the shortest LGRB found with an associated collapsar; it appears to sit on the brink between a successful and a failed collapsar. Our discovery is consistent with the hypothesis that most collapsars fail to produce ultra-relativistic jets.« less