SEARCH FOR GAMMA-RAY COUNTERPARTS OF GRAVITATIONAL WAVE EVENTS AND OTHER TRANSIENT SIGNALS WITH HAWC
Martinez Castellanos, Israel
Goodman, Jordan A
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In recent years we have seen major advances in multi-messenger astronomy. A milestone was achieved by identifying the electromagnetic counterpart of the gravitational wave event GW170817 detected by LIGO and Virgo. Similar efforts led to a set of neutrinos detected by IceCube to be associated with the blazar TXS 0506+056. Both demonstrate the potential of using multiple types of probes to study an astrophysical source. The High-Altitude Water Cherenkov Observatory (HAWC), located in the state of Puebla, Mexico, is a wide field instrument (~2 sr) sensitive to very-high-energy gamma rays (~0.1-100 TeV) which can operate with a large duty cycle (>95%). These characteristics make it well suited to look for transient events correlated with other astronomical messengers. In this work we present a maximum likelihood analysis framework developed to search and analyze signals in HAWC data of arbitrary timescales. We apply this method to search for very-high-energy gamma-ray counterparts of gravitational waves in short timescales (0.3-1000 s). We show that we would be able to either detect or meaningfully constrain the very-high-energy component of a gamma-ray burst within the binary neutron star merger horizon of current gravitational wave detectors if it occurs in our field of view. We did not find evidence for emission for any of the events analyzed. The source location of GW170817 was not observable by HAWC at the time of the merger. We also set flux upper bounds for TXS 0506+056 during the periods when the neutrino flares were identified. For the flare between September 2014 and March 2015 these are the only available limits at very high energy, and are consistent with the low state in high-energy gamma rays reported by the Fermi-LAT Collaboration.