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 Large-Scale Image Processing with the ROTSE Pipeline for Follow-Up of Gravitational Wave Events


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Electromagnetic EM observations of gravitational-wave GW sources would bring unique insights into a source which are not available from either channel alone. However EM follow-up of GW events presents new challenges. GW events will have large sky error regions, on the order of 10-100 square degrees, which can be made up of many disjoint patches. When searching such large areas there is potential contamination by EM transients unrelated to the GW event. Furthermore, the characteristics of possible EM counterparts to GW events are also uncertain. It is therefore desirable to be able to assess the statistical significance of a candidate EM counterpart, which can only be done by performing background studies of large data sets. Current image processing pipelines such as that used by ROTSE are not usually optimised for large-scale processing. We have automated the ROTSE image analysis, and supplemented it with a post-processing unit for candidate validation and classification. We also propose a simple ad hoc statistic for ranking candidates as more likely to be associated with the GW trigger. We demonstrate the performance of the automated pipeline and ranking statistic using archival ROTSE data. EM candidates from a randomly selected set of images are compared to a background estimated from the analysis of 102 additional sets of archival images. The pipelines detection efficiency is computed empirically by re-analysis of the images after adding simulated optical transients that follow typical light curves for gamma-ray burst afterglows and kilonovae. We show that the automated pipeline rejects most background events and is sensitive to simulated transients to limiting magnitudes consistent with the limiting magnitude of the images.



Author: L. K. Nuttall; D. J. White; P. J. Sutton; E. J. Daw; V. S. Dhillon; W. Zheng; C. Akerlof

Source: https://archive.org/







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