Swift follow-up of the Gravitational Wave source GW150914

Evans, P.A.; Kennea, J.A.; Barthelmy, S.D.; Beardmore, A.P.; Burrows, D. N.; Campana, S.; Cenko, S.B.; Gehrels, N.; Giommi, P.; Gronwall, C.; Marshall, F. E.; Malesani, D.; Markwardt, C.B.; Mingo, B.; Nousek, J. A.; O'Brien, P. T.; Osborne, J. P.; Pagani, C.; Page, K.L.; Palmer, D.M.; Perri, M.; Racusin, J. L.; Siegel, M.H.; Sbarufatti, B. and Tagliaferri, G. (2016). Swift follow-up of the Gravitational Wave source GW150914. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters, 460 pp. 40–44.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/mnrasl/slw065


The Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (ALIGO) observatory recently reported the first direct detection of gravitational waves (GW) which triggered ALIGO on 2015 September 14. We report on observations taken with the Swift satellite two days after the trigger. No new X-ray, optical, UV or hard X-ray sources were detected in our observations, which were focused on nearby galaxies in the GW error region and covered 4.7 deg2 (~2 per cent of the probability in the rapidly available GW error region; 0.3 per cent of the probability from the final GW error region, which was produced several months after the trigger). We describe the rapid Swift response and automated analysis of the X-ray telescope and UV/Optical telescope data, and note the importance to electromagnetic follow-up of early notification of the progenitor details inferred from GW analysis.

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