Localizing compact binary inspirals on the sky using ground-based gravitational wave interferometers

Samaya Nissanke, Jonathan Sievers, Neal Dalal, Daniel Holz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The inspirals and mergers of compact binaries are among the most promising events for ground-based gravitational-wave (GW) observatories. The detection of electromagnetic (EM) signals from these sources would provide complementary information to the GW signal. It is therefore important to determine the ability of GW detectors to localize compact binaries on the sky, so that they can be matched to their EM counterparts. We use Markov Chain Monte Carlo techniques to study sky localization using networks of ground-based interferometers. Using a coherent-network analysis, we find that the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO)-Virgo network can localize 50% of their detected neutron star binaries to better than 50 deg2 with a 95% confidence interval. The addition of the Large Scale Cryogenic Gravitational Wave Telescope (LCGT) and LIGO-Australia improves this to 12 deg2. Using a more conservative coincident detection threshold, we find that 50% of detected neutron star binaries are localized to 13 deg2 using the LIGO-Virgo network, and to 3 deg2 using the LIGO-Virgo-LCGT-LIGO-Australia network. Our findings suggest that the coordination of GW observatories and EM facilities offers great promise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number99
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1 2011


  • gamma-ray burst: general
  • gravitational waves
  • stars: neutron
  • surveys

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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