A DECam search for kilonova counterparts of the sources detected by ALIGO/AVIRGO
February 06, 2017
April 19, 2017
Experimentally, how dark are black hole mergers?
The first Advanced LIGO observing run detected two black hole merger events and likely a third. Many groups organized to followup the events in the optical even though there is a strong theo- retical prior that no optical emission should be seen. We carry through the logic of this by asking about the experimental upper limits to an optical signal from Advanced LIGO black hole merger events. We inventory the published optical searches for transient events associated with the black hole mergers. We describe the factors that go into a formal limit on the visibility of an event (sky area coverage, the coverage factor of the camera, the fraction of sky not covered by intervening objects), and list what is known from the literature of the followup teams quantitative assessment of each factor. Where possible we calculate the total probability from each group that the source was imaged. The calculation of confidence level is reviewed for the case of no background. We find that an experimental 95% upper limit on the magnitude of a black hole requires the sum of the total probabilities over all events to be more than 3. In the first Advanced LIGO observing run we were far from reaching that threshold.
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