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Burst Group External Collaboration Overview

Overview of Active or Possible External Collaboration

Name of external person(s), group, or scientific collaboration:

Swift (Home page)

Brief description of collaborative activity (one sentence):

Use Swift to obtain prompt Gamma, X-ray and UV/Optical images at the sky positions of GW event candidates via Target-of-Opportunity proposals.

Contact person(s) in the LSC+Virgo collaborations:

Erik Katsavounidis, others?

External contact person(s):

Neil Gehrels, others?

How does/would this collaborative activity benefit the LSC and Virgo?

An X-ray/optical transient detected by Swift could confirm a GW trigger as an actual astrophysical event, localize it, and provide information about the progenitor. Localizing it promptly would also allow further follow-up observations by larger-aperture telescopes. We can probably ask Swift to follow up at least one GW candidate per month.

Are there other individuals/groups who could provide similar benefits?

If so, what is the scientific and/or practical justification for pursuing this particular collaboration?
Among the current satellites with X-ray capabilities, Swift is unique in that it is specifically designed for rapid imaging of GRBs and other transient phenomena. The UV/Optical telescope is co-aligned with the X-ray telescope, so one gets images with both at the same time. The current Swift guest investigator program announcement specifically encourages proposals for rapid follow-up observations on non-GRB targets, and we know that GW triggers are one of the things they have in mind.

Are any joint proposals planned to be submitted, e.g. for funding or for telescope time?

If so, indicate what will be proposed, to what agency or entity, and who will be listed as the investigator(s).
Yes, a proposal will be made to NASA for a time allocation for target-of-opportunity (TOO) observations with Swift. Some amount of funding might be reqested along with the observing time, since the Swift guest investigator program has some money to provide. It is not yet known who would be the investigators on the proposal, and whether they would include any non-LSC/Virgo scientists.

Describe any paper(s) which will/might result from this collaboration

If we discover a GW signal associated with an X-ray/optical transient, we will be very excited and will publish a joint detection paper. If we don't discover anything, we may still want to publish a paper of some sort on this project because of its high profile.

What preliminary studies (if any) have been done or are currently being done?


Any other comments:

It isn't yet clear whether this project would involve any non-LSC/Virgo scientists at the level of being co-authors on a paper, or whether we LSC/Virgo members can do it all ourselves. In the former case, there would not have to be an MOU, but there will still have to be explicit approval of the project by the LSC and Virgo collaborations.
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