Prospects for observing and localizing gravitational-wave transients with advanced LIGO and advanced virgo

B. P. Abbott*, R. Abbott, M. R. Abernathy, R. X. Adhikari, S. B. Anderson, K. Arai, M. C. Araya, J. C. Barayoga, B. C. Barish, B. K. Berger, G. Billingsley, J. K. Blackburn, R. Bork, A. F. Brooks, C. Cahillane, T. Callister, C. Cepeda, R. Chakraborty, T. Chalermsongsak, P. CouvaresD. C. Coyne, V. Dergachev, R. W.P. Drever, P. Ehrens, T. Etzel, S. E. Gossan, K. E. Gushwa, E. K. Gustafson, E. D. Hall, A. W. Heptonstall, K. A. Hodge, M. Isi, J. B. Kanner, W. Kells, V. Kondrashov, W. Z. Korth, D. B. Kozak, A. Lazzarini, T. G.F. Li, M. Mageswaran, E. Maros, D. V. Martynov, J. N. Marx, G. McIntyre, S. Meshkov, M. Pedraza, A. Perreca, L. R. Price, E. A. Quintero, D. H. Reitze

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

399 Scopus citations


We present a possible observing scenario for the Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo gravitational-wave detectors over the next decade, with the intention of providing information to the astronomy community to facilitate planning for multi-messenger astronomy with gravitational waves. We determine the expected sensitivity of the network to transient gravitational-wave signals, and study the capability of the network to determine the sky location of the source. We report our findings for gravitational-wave transients, with particular focus on gravitational-wave signals from the inspiral of binary neutron-star systems, which are considered the most promising for multi-messenger astronomy. The ability to localize the sources of the detected signals depends on the geographical distribution of the detectors and their relative sensitivity, and 90% credible regions can be as large as thousands of square degrees when only two sensitive detectors are operational. Determining the sky position of a significant fraction of detected signals to areas of 5 deg2to 20 deg2will require at least three detectors of sensitivity within a factor of ~ 2 of each other and with a broad frequency bandwidth. Should the third LIGO detector be relocated to India as expected, a significant fraction of gravitational-wave signals will be localized to a few square degrees by gravitational-wave observations alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1
Pages (from-to)1-39
Number of pages39
JournalLiving Reviews in Relativity
StatePublished - Feb 8 2016


  • Data analysis
  • Electromagnetic counterparts
  • Gravitational waves
  • Gravitational-wave detectors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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