Multi-messenger observations of binary neutron star mergers in the O4 run


Submitted on 15 April 2022


We present realistic expectations for the number and properties of neutron star binary mergers to be detected as multi-messenger sources during the upcoming fourth observing run (O4) of the LIGO-Virgo-KAGRA gravitational wave (GW) detectors, with the aim of providing guidance for the optimization of observing strategies. Our predictions are based on a population synthesis model which includes the GW signal-to-noise ratio, the kilonova (KN) optical and near-infrared light curves, the relativistic jet gamma-ray burst (GRB) prompt emission peak photon flux, and the afterglow light curves in radio, optical and X-rays. Within our assumptions, the rate of GW events to be confidently detected during O4 is $7.7^{+11.9}_{-5.7}$ yr$^{-1}$, 78% of which will produce a KN, and a lower 52% will also produce a relativistic jet. The typical depth of current optical electromagnetic search and follow up strategies is still sufficient to detect most of the KNe in O4, but only for the first night or two. The prospects for detecting relativistic jet emission are not promising. While closer events (within z<0.02) will likely still have a detectable cocoon shock breakout, most events will have their GRB emission (both prompt and afterglow) missed unless seen under a favorably small viewing angle. This reduces the fraction of events with detectable jets to 2% (prompt emission, serendipitous) and 10% (afterglow, deep radio monitoring), corresponding to detection rates of $0.17^{+0.26}_{-0.13}$ and $0.78^{+1.21}_{-0.58}$ yr$^{-1}$, respectively. When considering a GW sub-threshold search triggered by a GRB detection, our predicted rate of GW+GRB prompt emission detections increases up to a more promising $0.75^{+1.16}_{-0.55}$ yr$^{-1}$.


Comment: 20 pages, 13 figures, submitted to ApJL. Comments are welcome

Subjects: Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena; General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology