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Open Access Publications from the University of California

An ASKAP Search for a Radio Counterpart to the First High-significance Neutron Star–Black Hole Merger LIGO/Virgo S190814bv


We present results from a search for a radio transient associated with the LIGO/Virgo source S190814bv, a likely neutron star-black hole (NSBH) merger, with the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder. We imaged a 30 deg2 field at ΔT = 2, 9, and 33 days post-merger at a frequency of 944 MHz, comparing them to reference images from the Rapid ASKAP Continuum Survey observed 110 days prior to the event. Each epoch of our observations covers 89% of the LIGO/Virgo localization region. We conducted an untargeted search for radio transients in this field, resulting in 21 candidates. For one of these, AT2019osy, we performed multiwavelength follow-up and ultimately ruled out the association with S190814bv. All other candidates are likely unrelated variables, but we cannot conclusively rule them out. We discuss our results in the context of model predictions for radio emission from NSBH mergers and place constrains on the circum-merger density and inclination angle of the merger. This survey is simultaneously the first large-scale radio follow-up of an NSBH merger, and the most sensitive widefield radio transients search to-date.

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