Localization and Broadband Follow-Up of the Gravitational-Wave Transient GW150914

B. P. Abbott, R. Abbott, T. D. Abbott, M. R. Abernathy, F. Acernese, K. Ackley, C. Adams, T. Adams, P. Addesso, R. X. Adhikari, Søren Brandt, D. Perley, J. Hjorth, J. P. U. Fynbo, D. Malesani, B. Milvang-Jensen, D. Watson, Antonio de Ugarte Postigo

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A gravitational-wave (GW) transient was identified in data recorded by the Advanced Laser InterferometerGravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors on 2015 September 14. The event, initially designated G184098and later given the name GW150914, is described in detail elsewhere. By prior arrangement, preliminary estimatesof the time, significance, and sky location of the event were shared with 63 teams of observers covering radio,optical, near-infrared, X-ray, and gamma-ray wavelengths with ground- and space-based facilities. In this Letter wedescribe the low-latency analysis of the GW data and present the sky localization of the first observed compactbinary merger. We summarize the follow-up observations reported by 25 teams via private Gamma-rayCoordinates Network circulars, giving an overview of the participating facilities, the GW sky localizationcoverage, the timeline, and depth of the observations. As this event turned out to be a binary black hole merger,there is little expectation of a detectable electromagnetic (EM) signature. Nevertheless, this first broadbandcampaign to search for a counterpart of an Advanced LIGO source represents a milestone and highlights the broadcapabilities of the transient astronomy community and the observing strategies that have been developed to pursueneutron star binary merger events. Detailed investigations of the EM data and results of the EM follow-upcampaign are being disseminated in papers by the individual teams.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberL13
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Free article;
See the Supplement, Abbott et al. 2016b, for the full list of authors


  • Gravitational waves
  • Methods: observational

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