Observational constraints on the optical and near-infrared emission from the neutron star-black hole binary merger candidate S190814bv

K. Ackley, L. Amati, C. Barbieri, F. E. Bauer, S. Benetti, M. G. Bernardini, K. Bhirombhakdi, M. T. Botticella, M. Branchesi, E. Brocato, S. H. Bruun, M. Bulla, S. Campana, E. Cappellaro, A. J. Castro-Tirado, K. C. Chambers, S. Chaty, T. W. Chen, R. Ciolfi, A. ColeiroC. M. Copperwheat, S. Covino, R. Cutter, F. D'Ammando, P. D'Avanzo, G. De Cesare, V. D'Elia, M. Della Valle, L. Denneau, M. De Pasquale, V. S. Dhillon, M. J. Dyer, N. Elias-Rosa, P. A. Evans, R. A.J. Eyles-Ferris, A. Fiore, M. Fraser, A. S. Fruchter, J. P.U. Fynbo, L. Galbany, C. Gall, D. K. Galloway, F. I. Getman, G. Ghirlanda, J. H. Gillanders, A. Gomboc, B. P. Gompertz, C. González-Fernández, S. González-Gaitán, A. Grado, G. Greco, M. Gromadzki, P. J. Groot, C. P. Gutiérrez, T. Heikkilä, K. E. Heintz, J. Hjorth, Y. D. Hu, M. E. Huber, C. Inserra, L. Izzo, J. Japelj, A. Jerkstrand, Z. P. Jin, P. G. Jonker, E. Kankare, D. A. Kann, M. Kennedy, S. Kim, S. Klose, E. C. Kool, R. Kotak, H. Kuncarayakti, G. P. Lamb, G. Leloudas, A. J. Levan*, F. Longo, T. B. Lowe, J. D. Lyman, E. Magnier, K. Maguire, E. Maiorano, I. Mandel, M. Mapelli, S. Mattila, O. R. McBrien, A. Melandri, M. J. Michałowski, B. Milvang-Jensen, S. Moran, L. Nicastro, M. Nicholl, A. Nicuesa Guelbenzu, L. Nuttal, S. R. Oates, P. T. O'Brien, F. Onori, E. Palazzi, B. Patricelli, A. Perego, M. A.P. Torres, D. A. Perley, E. Pian, G. Pignata, S. Piranomonte, S. Poshyachinda, A. Possenti, M. L. Pumo, J. Quirola-Vásquez, F. Ragosta, G. Ramsay, A. Rau, A. Rest, T. M. Reynolds, S. S. Rosetti, A. Rossi, S. Rosswog, N. B. Sabha, A. Sagués Carracedo, O. S. Salafia, L. Salmon, R. Salvaterra, S. Savaglio, L. Sbordone, P. Schady, P. Schipani, A. S.B. Schultz, T. Schweyer, S. J. Smartt, K. W. Smith, M. Smith, J. Sollerman, S. Srivastav, E. R. Stanway, R. L.C. Starling, D. Steeghs, G. Stratta, C. W. Stubbs, N. R. Tanvir, V. Testa, E. Thrane, J. L. Tonry, M. Turatto, K. Ulaczyk, A. J. Van Der Horst, S. D. Vergani, N. A. Walton, D. Watson, K. Wiersema, K. Wiik, L. Wyrzykowski, S. Yang, S. X. Yi, D. R. Young

*Corresponding author for this work

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Context. Gravitational wave (GW) astronomy has rapidly reached maturity, becoming a fundamental observing window for modern astrophysics. The coalescences of a few tens of black hole (BH) binaries have been detected, while the number of events possibly including a neutron star (NS) is still limited to a few. On 2019 August 14, the LIGO and Virgo interferometers detected a high-significance event labelled S190814bv. A preliminary analysis of the GW data suggests that the event was likely due to the merger of a compact binary system formed by a BH and a NS. Aims. In this paper, we present our extensive search campaign aimed at uncovering the potential optical and near infrared electromagnetic counterpart of S190814bv. We found no convincing electromagnetic counterpart in our data. We therefore use our non-detection to place limits on the properties of the putative outflows that could have been produced by the binary during and after the merger. Methods. Thanks to the three-detector observation of S190814bv, and given the characteristics of the signal, the LIGO and Virgo Collaborations delivered a relatively narrow localisation in low latency - a 50% (90%) credible area of 5 deg2 (23 deg2) - despite the relatively large distance of 267 ± 52 Mpc. ElectromagNetic counterparts of GRAvitational wave sources at the VEry Large Telescope collaboration members carried out an intensive multi-epoch, multi-instrument observational campaign to identify the possible optical and near infrared counterpart of the event. In addition, the ATLAS, GOTO, GRAWITA-VST, Pan-STARRS, and VINROUGE projects also carried out a search on this event. In this paper, we describe the combined observational campaign of these groups. Results. Our observations allow us to place limits on the presence of any counterpart and discuss the implications for the kilonova (KN), which was possibly generated by this NS-BH merger, and for the strategy of future searches. The typical depth of our wide-field observations, which cover most of the projected sky localisation probability (up to 99.8%, depending on the night and filter considered), is r ∼ 22 (resp. K ∼ 21) in the optical (resp. near infrared). We reach deeper limits in a subset of our galaxy-targeted observations, which cover a total ∼50% of the galaxy-mass-weighted localisation probability. Altogether, our observations allow us to exclude a KN with large ejecta mass M 0.1 M- to a high (> 90%) confidence, and we can exclude much smaller masses in a sub-sample of our observations. This disfavours the tidal disruption of the neutron star during the merger. Conclusions. Despite the sensitive instruments involved in the campaign, given the distance of S190814bv, we could not reach sufficiently deep limits to constrain a KN comparable in luminosity to AT 2017gfo on a large fraction of the localisation probability. This suggests that future (likely common) events at a few hundred megaparsecs will be detected only by large facilities with both a high sensitivity and large field of view. Galaxy-targeted observations can reach the needed depth over a relevant portion of the localisation probability with a smaller investment of resources, but the number of galaxies to be targeted in order to get a fairly complete coverage is large, even in the case of a localisation as good as that of this event.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA113
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
CPG and MS acknowledge support from EU/FP7-ERC grant no. 615929. KEH acknowledges support by a Project Grant from The Icelandic Research Fund. YDH acknowledges support from the China Scholarships Council. JJ acknowledges support from NOVA and NWO-FAPESP grant for instrumentation. AJ acknowledges funding from the European Research Council (ERC). ZPJ was supported by the Foundation for Distinguished Young Scholars of Jiangsu Province (no. BK20180050). PGJ acknowledges funding from the ERC under Consolidator Grant agreement no. 647208. DAK acknowledges Spanish research project RTI2018-098104-J-I00 (GRBPhot). SKl acknowledges support by DFG grant Kl 766/16-3. ECK acknowledges support from the GREAT research environment. GPL acknowledges support from STFC via grant ST/N000757/1. GL was supported by a research grant (19054) from VILLUM FONDEN. KM acknowledges support from the ERC (grant no. 758638). IM is partially supported by OzGrav (ARC project CE17010000). MM acknowledges support from ERC through ERC-2017-CoG no. 770017. MJM acknowledges the National Science Centre, Poland, grant 2018/30/E/ST9/00208. BMJ and DW are supported by Independent Research Fund Denmark grant DFF-7014-00017. MN is supported by a Royal Astronomical Society Research Fellowship. ANG acknowledges support by grant DFG Kl 766/16-3. PTOB acknowledges funding from STFC. SRO gratefully acknowledges the support of the Leverhulme Trust. FO acknowledges the support of the H2020 Hemera program, grant no. 730970. MAPT was supported by grants RYC-2015-17854 and AYA2017-83216-P. EP aknowledges financial support from INAF. GP is supported by the Millennium Science Initiative through grant IC120009. MLP is partially supported by a “Linea 2” project of the Catania University. JQV acknowledges support from CONICYT folio 21180886. TMR acknowledges the support of the Vilho, Yrjo and Kalle Vaisala Foundation. ARo acknowledges support from Pre-miale LBT 2013. SR is supported by VR grants 2016-03657_3 and the research environment grant GREAT, Dnr. 2016-06012, and the Swedish National Space board, Dnr. 107/16. OSS acknowledges the Italian Ministry of Research (MIUR) grant LSa acknowledges the Irish Research Council Scholarship no. GOIPG/2017/1525. SJS acknowledges support from STFC Grant ST/P000312/1. ERS and DS acknowledge funding from UK STFC CG ST/P000495/1. RLCS acknowledges funding from STFC. DS acknowledges support from STFC via grant ST/T007184/1. SDV acknowledges the support of the CNES. LW supported by Polish NCN DAINA 2017/27/L/ST9/03221. The Cosmic DAWN center is funded by the Danish National Research Foundation.

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements. Based on observations collected at the European Southern Observatory under ESO programmes 1102.D-0353(E), 1102.D-0353(F), 1102.D-0353(Q), 1102.D-0353(G), 0103.D-0070(A), 0103.D-0070(B), 0103.D-0703(A), 0103.D-0722(A), 0103.A-9099(A), 198.D-2010(D) and 60.A-9285(A). ATLAS is primarily funded through NEO NASA grants NN12AR55G, 80NSSC18K0284, and 80NSSC18K1575. The ATLAS science products have been made possible through the contributions of the University of Hawaii IfA, the Queen’s University Belfast, the Space Telescope Science Institute, and the South African Astronomical Observatory. PanSTARRS is primarily funded through NEO NASA grants NASA Grants NNX08AR22G, NNX14AM74G. The Pan-STARRS science products for LIGO-Virgo follow-up are made possible through the contributions of the University of Hawaii IfA and the Queen’s University Belfast. The Gravitational-wave Optical Transient Observer (GOTO) project acknowledges the support of the Monash-Warwick Alliance; Warwick University; Monash University; Sheffield University; Leicester University; Armagh Observatory & Planetarium; the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (NARIT); University of Portsmouth; Turku University and the Insti-tuto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC). Part of the funding for GROND was generously granted from the Leibniz-Prize to Prof. G. Hasinger (DFG grant HA 1850/28-1). The Liverpool Telescope is operated on the island of La Palma by Liverpool John Moores University in the Spanish Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias with financial support from the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council. The WHT and its override programme are operated on the island of La Palma by the Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes in the Spanish Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias; part of these data were taken under program (19A)N3. FEB thanks CONICYT Basal AFB-170002 and Chile’s Ministry of Economy fund IC120009. MGB, PDA and AM acknowledge support from ASI grant I/004/11/3. MBr, EC, AP and SPi acknowledge support from MIUR (PRIN 2017 grant 20179ZF5KS). EB, EM and MT acknowledge funding from GRAWITA. SHB is indebted to the Danish National Research Foundation (DNRF132) for support. SCa acknowledges support from grant MAE0065741. EC acknowledges the support of the H2020 OPTICON programme 730890. TWC acknowledges the Humboldt Foundation and Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant 842471. MDP thanks Istanbul University for support. PAE acknowledges UKSA support. RAJEF is supported by an STFC studentship. MF is supported by a Royal Society – SFI University Research Fellowship. LG was funded by the EU H2020 programme under MSCA grant no. 839090. CG, JH and LI were supported by a research grant from VILLUM FONDEN (project 16599). CG and LI were supported by a research grant from VILLUM FONDEN (25501). GGh acknowledges the PRIN MIUR “Figaro” for financial support. AGo acknowledges financial support from the Slovenian Research Agency (grants P1-0031, I0-0033, and J1-8136). BPG, AJL and JDL acknowledge support from ERC grant 725246 (TEDE, PI Levan). SGG acknowledges support by FCT Fun-dação para a Ciência e Tecnologia and by Project PTDC/FIS-AST-31546. GGr acknowledges the ESCAPE H2020 project no. 824064. MG is supported by the Polish NCN MAESTRO grant 2014/14/A/ST9/00121. PJG acknowledges support from NOVA and from the South African NRF SARChI grant 111692.

Publisher Copyright:
© K. Ackley et al. 2020.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Gravitational waves
  • Stars: neutron
  • Supernovae: general

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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