Improvements in Gravitational-wave Sky Localization with Expanded Networks of Interferometers

Chris Pankow, Eve A. Chase, Scott Coughlin, Michael Zevin, Vassiliki Kalogera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


A milestone of multi-messenger astronomy has been achieved with the detection of gravitational waves from a binary neutron star merger accompanied by observations of several associated electromagnetic counterparts. Joint observations can reveal details of the engines that drive the electromagnetic and gravitational-wave emission. However, locating and identifying an electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational-wave event is heavily reliant on localization of the source through gravitational-wave information. We explore the sky localization of a simulated set of neutron star mergers as the worldwide network of gravitational-wave detectors evolves through the next decade, performing the first such study for neutron star-black hole binary sources. Currently, three detectors are observing with additional detectors in Japan and India expected to become operational in the coming years. With three detectors, we recover a median neutron star-black hole binary sky localization of 60 deg2 at the 90% credible level. As all five detectors become operational, sources can be localized to a median of 11 deg2 on the sky.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL25
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 20 2018


  • gravitational waves
  • stars: neutron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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