Joint gravitational wave and electromagnetic astronomy with LIGO and LSST in the 2020's

Philip S. Cowperthwaite*, Hsin Yu Chen, Ben Margalit, Raffaella Margutti, Morgan May, Brian Metzger, Chris Pankow

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The blossoming field of joint gravitational wave and electromagnetic (GW-EM) astronomy is one of the most promising in astronomy. The first, and only, joint GW-EM event GW170817 provided remarkable science returns that still continue to this day. Continued growth in this field requires increasing the sample size of joint GW-EM detections. In this white paper, we outline the case for using some percentage of LSST survey time for dedicated target-of-opportunity follow up of GW triggers in order to efficiently and rapidly identify optical counterparts. We show that the timeline for the LSST science survey is well matched to the planned improvements to ground based GW detectors in the next decade. LSST will become particularly crucial in the later half of the 2020s as more and more distant GW sources are detected. Lastly, we highlight some of the key science goals that can be addressed by a large sample of joint GW-EM detections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - Apr 4 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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