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    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 »assuming the model described in Perna, Lazzati & Farr, that derives as possible optical counterpart of a BBH (binary black hole) event a transient source declining in about one day, we have computed a survey efficiency of about $5{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$. This paper describes the VST observational strategy and the results obtained by our analysis pipelines developed to search for optical transients in multi-epoch images. We report the catalogue of the candidates with possible identifications based on light-curve fitting. We have identified two dozens of SNe, nine AGNs, and one QSO. Nineteen transients characterized by a single detection were not classified. We have restricted our analysis only to the candidates that fall into the refined localization map. None out of 39 left candidates could be positively associated with GW170814. This result implies that the possible emission of optical radiation from a BBH merger had to be fainter than r ∼ 22 (Loptical ∼ 1.4 × 1042 erg s−1) on a time interval ranging from a few hours up to two months after the gravitational wave event.

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