A late-time galaxy-targeted search for the radio counterpart of GW190814

K. D. Alexander, G. Schroeder, K. Paterson, W. Fong, P. Cowperthwaite, S. Gomez, B. Margalit, R. Margutti, E. Berger, P. Blanchard, R. Chornock, T. Eftekhari, T. Laskar, B. D. Metzger, M. Nicholl, V. A. Villar, P. K. G. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

GW190814 was a compact object binary coalescence detected in gravitational waves by Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo that garnered exceptional community interest due to its excellent localization and the uncertain nature of the binary's lighter-mass component (either the heaviest known neutron star, or the lightest known black hole). Despite extensive follow-up observations, no electromagnetic counterpart has been identified. Here, we present new radio observations of 75 galaxies within the localization volume at Δt ≍ 35-266 days post-merger. Our observations cover ~32% of the total stellar luminosity in the final localization volume and extend to later timescales than previously reported searches, allowing us to place the deepest constraints to date on the existence of a radio afterglow from a highly off-axis relativistic jet launched during the merger (assuming that the merger occurred within the observed area). For a viewing angle of ~46° (the best-fit binary inclination derived from the gravitational wave signal) and assumed electron and magnetic field energy fractions of ϵ e = 0.1 and ϵ B = 0.01, we can rule out a typical short gamma-ray burst-like Gaussian jet with an opening angle of 15° and isotropic-equivalent kinetic energy 2 × 1051 erg propagating into a constant-density medium n ≳ 0.1 cm-3. These are the first limits resulting from a galaxy-targeted search for a radio counterpart to a gravitational wave event, and we discuss the challenges-and possible advantages-of applying similar search strategies to future events using current and upcoming radio facilities.
Original languageEnglish
Article number66
Number of pages13
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Volume923
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2021

Keywords

  • Gravitational waves
  • Radio sources
  • Radio transient sources

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