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  1. Abstract

    GW170817 is the only gravitational-wave event for which a confirmedγ-ray counterpart, GRB 170817A, has been detected. Here, we present a method to search for another type ofγ-ray signal, aγ-ray burst precursor, associated with a compact binary merger. If emitted shortly before the coalescence, a high-energy electromagnetic (EM) flash travels through a highly dynamical and relativistic environment, created by the two compact objects orbiting each other. Thus, the EM signal arriving at an Earth observer could present a somewhat predictable time-dependent modulation. We describe a targeted search method for light curves exhibiting such a modulation, parameterized by the observer-frame component masses and binary merger time, using Fermi-GBM data. The sensitivity of the method is assessed based on simulated signals added to GBM data. The method is then applied to a selection of potentially interesting compact binary mergers detected during the second (O2) and third (O3) observing runs of Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo. We find no significant modulatedγ-ray precursor signal associated with any of the considered events.

     
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    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 well 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. 
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