LIGO Document G1601933-v1

Advanced LIGO First Light: Multimessenger Astrophysics at the Birth of Gravitational-Wave Observatory

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Advanced LIGO's direct observation of gravitational radiation from a binary black hole merger has sent quakes through the physics and astronomy community. In a few short years, the search for gravitational waves will complete its transformation from an experimental effort into a new discipline of observational astronomy as we rapidly build a sample of merging compact binaries. However, the greatest prize of all may come from combining our new GW observatories with existing electromagnetic ones---uncovering the host environments and formation channels of compact binaries, exposing the mechanism behind short GRBs, explaining the cosmic inventory of r-process elements, and even testing if stellar-mass black hole binaries are truly barren of matter and magnetic fields. I will describe the LIGO/Virgo EM follow-up program and the GW150914 and GW151226 follow-up campaigns in detail. They bring together new real-time GW data analysis techniques and 63 groups who are searching for counterparts of LIGO sources using ground- and space-based partner facilities spanning gamma ray, x-ray, optical, infrared, and radio wavelengths, as well as neutrinos. I will discuss the anticipated trajectory of the worldwide GW detector network from the standpoint of sky localization, and I will conclude with some ideas for future follow-up strategies.
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