Authors: Brian D. Metzger, David L. Kaplan, Edo Berger
Date: 26 Oct 2012
Abstract: Identifying the electromagnetic counterparts of gravitational wave (GW) sources detected by upcoming networks of advanced ground-based interferometers will be challenging due in part to the large number of unrelated astrophysical transients within the ~10-100 square degree sky localizations. A potential way to greatly reduce the number of such false positives is to limit detailed follow-up to only those candidates near galaxies within the GW sensitivity range of ~200 Mpc for binary neutron star mergers. Such a strategy is currently hindered by the fact that galaxy catalogs are grossly incomplete within this volume. Here we compare two methods for completing the local galaxy catalog: (1) a narrow-band H-alpha imaging survey; and (2) an HI emission line radio survey. Using H-alpha fluxes, stellar masses (M_star), and star formation rates (SFR) from galaxies in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), combined with HI data from the GALEX Arecibo SDSS Survey and the Herschel Reference Survey, we estimate that a H-alpha survey with a luminosity sensitivity of L_H-alpha = 1e40 erg/s at 200 Mpc could achieve a completeness of f_SFR ~ 75% with respect to total SFR, but only f_Mstar ~ 33% with respect to stellar mass (due to lack of sensitivity to early-type galaxies). These numbers are significantly lower than those achieved by an idealized spectroscopic survey due to the loss of H-alpha flux resulting from resolving out nearby galaxies and the inability to correct for the underlying stellar continuum. An HI survey with sensitivity similar to the proposed WALLABY survey on ASKAP could achieve f_SFR ~ 80% and f_Mstar ~ 50%, somewhat higher than that of the H-alpha survey. Finally, both H-alpha and HI surveys should achieve > 50% completeness with respect to the host galaxies of short duration gamma-ray bursts, which may trace the population of binary neutron star mergers.
© M. Vallisneri 2012 — last modified on 2010/01/29
Tantum in modicis, quantum in maximis