LIGO Document P1400160-v3

Localization of short duration gravitational-wave transients with the early advanced LIGO and Virgo detectors

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The Laser Interferometer Gravitational wave Observatory (LIGO) and Virgo, advanced ground-based gravitational-wave detectors, will begin collecting science data in 2015. With first detections expected to follow, it is important to quantify how well generic gravitational-wave transients can be localized on the sky. This is crucial for correctly identifying electromagnetic counterparts as well as understanding gravitational-wave physics and source populations. We present a study of sky localization capabilities for two search and parameter estimation algorithms: \emph{coherent WaveBurst}, a constrained likelihood algorithm operating in close to real-time, and \emph{LALInferenceBurst}, a Markov chain Monte Carlo parameter estimation algorithm developed to recover generic transient signals with latency of a few hours. Furthermore, we focus on the first few years of the advanced detector era, when we expect to only have two (2015) and later three (2016) operational detectors, all below design sensitivity. These detector configurations can produce significantly different sky localizations, which we quantify in detail. We observe a clear improvement in localization of the average detected signal when progressing from two-detector to three-detector networks, as expected. Although localization depends on the waveform morphology, approximately 50% of detected signals would be imaged after observing 100-200 deg^2 in 2015 and 60-110 deg^2 in 2016, although knowledge of the waveform can reduce this to as little as 22 deg^2. This is the first comprehensive study on sky localization capabilities for generic transients
of the early network of advanced LIGO and Virgo detectors, including the early LIGO-only two-detector configuration.
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