PI: Ryan Chornock, Ohio U., email@example.com
Address: Department of Physics and Astronomy, Clippinger Research Labs. 251B, Athens, OH, 45701-2979 USA
CoI: Edo Berger, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
CoI: Marcelle Soares-Santos, FNAL
CoI: Philip Cowperthwaite, Harvard U.
CoI: James Annis, FNAL
CoI: Gary Bernstein, U. of Pennsylvania
CoI: Duncan Brown, Syracuse University
CoI: Elizabeth Buckley-Geer, FNAL
CoI: Laura Cadonati, Georgia Institute of Technology
CoI: Stephen Cenko, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
CoI: Hsin-Yu Chen, U. of Chicago
CoI: Shantanu Desai, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat Observatory Munich
CoI: H Thomas Diehl, FNAL
CoI: Maria Drout, Carnegie Institution of Washington
CoI: Stephen Fairhurst, Cardiff University
CoI: Benjamin Farr, U. of Chicago
CoI: David Finley, FNAL
CoI: Brenna Flaugher, FNAL
CoI: Ryan Foley, UC Santa Cruz
CoI: Wen-fai Fong, U. of Arizona
CoI: Derek Fox, Pennsylvania State U.
CoI: Josh Frieman, FNAL
CoI: Chris Fryer, LANL
CoI: Chad Hanna, Pennsylvania State U.
CoI: Daniel Holz, U. of Chicago
CoI: Dan Kasen, UC Berkeley
CoI: Richard Kessler, U. of Chicago
CoI: Huan Lin, FNAL
CoI: Raffaella Margutti, Northwestern U.
CoI: John Marriner, FNAL
CoI: Thomas Matheson, NOAO
CoI: Brian Metzger, Columbia U.
CoI: Eric Neilsen, FNAL
CoI: Matt Nicholl, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
CoI: Eliot Quataert, UC Berkeley
CoI: Armin Rest, STScI
CoI: Masao Sako, U. of Pennsylvania
CoI: Daniel Scolnic, U. of Chicago
CoI: Nathan Smith, U. of Arizona
CoI: R Chris Smith, NOAO
CoI: Flavia Sobreira, FNAL
CoI: Patrick Sutton, Cardiff University
CoI: Ashley Villar, Harvard U.
CoI: Peter Williams, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
CoI: Brian Yanny, FNAL
CoI: David Gerdes, U. of Michigan
CoI: Robert A Gruendl, U. of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
CoI: Alistair Walker, CTIO
CoI: Laura Nuttall, Syracuse University
CoI: Kate Alexander, Harvard U.
Title: Confirmation of Optical Counterparts to LIGO/Virgo Sources Found with DECam
Abstract: The era of gravitational wave (GW) astronomy has begun with the Advanced LIGO detection of the binary black hole mergers GW 150914 and 151226. The ongoing Advanced LIGO/Virgo Observing Run 2 (O2), which operates with improved sensitivity, including to binary neutron star (BNS) mergers out to 120 Mpc, has been extended to Sep. 2017 and possibly longer before a shutdown until semester 2018B for further upgrades. Electromagnetic counterparts to GW sources offer the only way to precisely measure the localization and redshift. In the event of a LIGO/Virgo detection of a BNS merger, the most promising electromagnetic counterpart is a faint, red optical transient powered by radioactive r-process nuclei, called a "kilonova". Our collaboration has designed a follow-up program using i/z imaging with DECam at CTIO to be sensitive to kilonovae within the volume out to which we expect detections of BNS during O2. We will apply color and timescale cuts to filter optical transients found with our DECam program to find plausible GW counterparts. This Gemini proposal will provide optical and near-infrared spectroscopy of these candidate optical counterparts to confirm or reject their connection to the GW source. The GMOS-S and FLAMINGOS-2 spectra will be critical for identifying the correct optical counterpart, and in the case of a kilonova detection, measuring the ejecta velocities and demonstrating that neutron star mergers are prime locations for r-process nucleosynthesis.
Program Type: Standard/Extragalactic
Run 1 (2017B): GEM-SQ/Flamingos2 -- 7.8hrs band 1 (GS-2017B-Q-8)
National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360