We report the results of an extensive search through the AGILE data for a gamma-ray counterpart to the LIGO gravitational-wave (GW) event GW150914. Currently in spinning mode, AGILE has the potential of cover 80% of the sky with its gamma-ray instrument, more than 100 times a day. It turns out that AGILE came within a minute of the event time of observing the accessible GW150914 localization region. Interestingly, the gamma-ray detector exposed ̃65% of this region during the 100 s time intervals centered at -100 and +300 s from the event time. We determine a 2σ flux upper limit in the band 50 MeV-10 GeV, UL = 1.9 × 10-8 erg cm-2 s-1, obtained ̃300 s after the event. The timing of this measurement is the fastest ever obtained for GW150914, and significantly constrains the electromagnetic emission of a possible high-energy counterpart. We also carried out a search for a gamma-ray precursor and delayed emission over five timescales ranging from minutes to days: in particular, we obtained an optimal exposure during the interval -150/-30 s. In all these observations, we do not detect a significant signal associated with GW150914. We do not reveal the weak transient source reported by Fermi-GBM 0.4 s after the event time. However, even though a gamma-ray counterpart of the GW150914 event was not detected, the prospects for future AGILE observations of GW sources are decidedly promising.
The Astrophysical Journal
- Pub Date:
- July 2016
- gamma rays: general;
- gravitational waves;
- Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena
- 20 pages, 6 figures. Submitted to the Astrophysical Journal Letters on April 1, 2016