Swift follow-up of gravitational wave triggers: Results from the first aLIGO run and optimization for the future

P. A. Evans, J. A. Kennea, D. M. Palmer, M. Bilicki, J. P. Osborne, P. T. O'Brien, N. R. Tanvir, A. Y. Lien, S. D. Barthelmy, D. N. Burrows, S. Campana, S. B. Cenko, V. D'Elia, N. Gehrels, F. E. Marshall, K. L. Page, M. Perri, B. Sbarufatti, M. H. Siegel, G. TagliaferriE. Troja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


During its first observing run, in late 2015, the advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitationalwave Observatory facility announced three gravitational wave (GW) triggers to electromagnetic follow-up partners. Two of these have since been confirmed as being of astrophysical origin: both are binary black hole mergers at ~500 Mpc; the other trigger was later found not to be astrophysical. In this paper, we report on the Swift follow-up observations of the second and third triggers, including details of 21 X-ray sources detected; none of which can be associated with the GW event. We also consider the challenges that the next GW observing run will bring as the sensitivity and hence typical distance of GW events will increase. We discuss how to effectively use galaxy catalogues to prioritize areas for follow-up, especially in the presence of distance estimates from the GW data. We also consider two galaxy catalogues and suggest that the high completeness at larger distances of the 2MASS Photometric Redshift catalogue makes it very well suited to optimize Swift follow-up observations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1591-1602
Number of pages12
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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