The systematic search for the electromagnetic signal of gravitational wave sources using optical synoptic surveys
Dr. Thomas Kupfer
Hannover, AEI, Seminarraum 103
Ultracompact binaries (UCB) are a rare class of binary systems with periods below 60 min (detached or semidetached), consisting of a neutron star (NS)/white dwarf (WD) primary and a He-star/WD/NS secondary. The study of ultracompact binaries and their subsequent mergers are important to our understanding of such diverse areas as supernova Ia progenitors, production of r-process elements, binary evolution and they are predicted to be the strong gravitational wave sources in the eLISA and LIGO-Virgo band. However, the number of known systems is still very limited.
The Zwicky Transient Facility is the next generation of optical synoptic surveys utilizing the entire focal plane of 47 deg^2 of the 1.2m telescope on Mount Palomar, providing the largest instantaneous field-of-view of any camera on a telescope of aperture greater than 0.5m. The field-of-view allows us to cover the entire visible sky in one night revisiting fields on timescales of a few hours and providing hundreds of visits per field each year. Science operations is expected to start by the end of 2017.
In this talk I will give an overview of the survey design and our effort to identify the optical counterpart to NS mergers triggered by LIGO. I am lead investigator of an approved high-cadence survey covering the full inner Plane visible from the northern hemisphere as part of ZTF. We will obtain 2 - 3 hr continuous lightcurves of each field with a cadence of 40 sec starting winter 2017 to identify the Galactic population of ultracompact binaries. I will give an overview of the survey as well as discuss the expected numbers of ultracompact eLISA sources from this survey.