Optical observations of LIGO source GW 170817 by the Antarctic Survey Telescopes at Dome A, Antarctica Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • © 2017 Science China Press The LIGO detection of gravitational waves (GW) from merging black holes in 2015 marked the beginning of a new era in observational astronomy. The detection of an electromagnetic signal from a GW source is the critical next step to explore in detail the physics involved. The Antarctic Survey Telescopes (AST3), located at Dome A, Antarctica, is uniquely situated for rapid response time-domain astronomy with its continuous night-time coverage during the austral winter. We report optical observations of the GW source (GW 170817) in the nearby galaxy NGC 4993 using AST3. The data show a rapidly fading transient at around 1 day after the GW trigger, with the i-band magnitude declining from 17.23±0.13 magnitude to 17.72±0.09 magnitude in ~1.8 h. The brightness and time evolution of the optical transient associated with GW 170817 are broadly consistent with the predictions of models involving merging binary neutron stars. We infer from our data that the merging process ejected about ∼10−2 solar mass of radioactive material at a speed of up to 30% the speed of light.

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Hu, L., Wu, X., Andreoni, I., Ashley, M., Cooke, J., Cui, X., ... Zhu, Z.

citation count

  • 37

publication date

  • November 2017