Localization of Compact Binary Sources with Second-generation Gravitational-wave Interferometer Networks

Chris Pankow, Monica Rizzo, Kaushik Rao, Christopher Philip Luke Berry, Vassiliki Kalogera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


GW170817 began gravitational-wave multimessenger astronomy. However, GW170817 will not be representative of detections in the coming years because typical gravitational-wave sources will be closer the detection horizon, have larger localization regions, and (when present) will have correspondingly weaker electromagnetic emission. In its design state, the gravitational-wave detector network in the mid-2020s will consist of up to five similar-sensitivity second-generation interferometers. The instantaneous sky-coverage by the full network is nearly isotropic, in contrast to the configuration during the first three observing runs. Along with the coverage of the sky, there are also commensurate increases in the average horizon for a given binary mass. We present a realistic set of localizations for binary neutron stars and neutron star-black hole binaries, incorporating intra-network duty cycles and selection effects on the astrophysical distributions. Based on the assumption of an 80% duty cycle, and that two instruments observe a signal above the detection threshold, we anticipate a median of 28 sq. deg. for binary neutron stars, and 50-120 sq. deg. for neutron star-black hole (depending on the population assumed). These distributions have a wide spread, and the best localizations, even for networks with fewer instruments, will have localizations of 1-10 sq. deg. range. The full five instrument network reduces localization regions to a few tens of degrees at worst.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number71
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 10 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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