Gravitational waves source hunting at Lisnyky Observatory

The Astronomy and Space Physics Department and Nuclear Physics Department of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv participated in the third observational campaign of the LIGO and Virgo gravitational wave observatories.

The telescope AZT-8 (70 cm) of the Lisnyky Observational Station is part of the international GRANDMA network (Global Rapid Advanced Network Devoted to the Multi-messenger Addicts) which facilitates coordinated observations of GW sources on a global level including a citizen science program (Kilonova-catcher). It has observed dozens of galaxies, hosting potential binary neutron stars collisions (observational report). It has also identified a particular transient AT2019wxt, suspected to be associated with a GW event but finally characterized as a supernovae due to the explosion of a binary star.

Finally, archival searches of gamma-ray bursts in the Fermi-GBM and INTEGRAL-SPI space missions were also conducted to find possible associations with GW sources.

During the eleven months of the campaign, both analysis of the optical and gamma-ray images did not reveal any counterparts to gravitational wave sources. However, due to rapid observations engaged by Lisnyky Observational Station, the limits reached by AZT-8 observations brought constraints to the mass ejected during and after the collision.

Thanks to the global effort, the Lisnyky Observational Station and its GRANDMA partners are well-prepared for the next LIGO and Virgo observing runs, when the rate of alerts are expected to significantly increase; may the sun never set on this collaboration.

Contact: Alexander Baransky –

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