Swift pointing and the association between gamma-ray bursts and gravitational wave bursts

Lee Samuel Finn, Badri Krishnan, Patrick J. Sutton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


It is widely believed that gamma-ray bursts originate in relativistic fireballs produced by the merger or collapse of solar-mass compact objects. Gravitational waves should be associated with these violent, relativistic events, and their detection may shed light on the nature of the inner engine that powers the gamma-ray burst. Doing this requires joint observations of gamma-ray burst events with gravitational and gamma-ray detectors. Here we examine how the quality of an upper limit on the gravitational wave strength at Earth associated with gamma-ray burst observations depends on the relative orientation of the gamma-ray burst and gravitational wave detectors, and we apply our results to the particular case of the Swift Burst Alert Telescope and the LIGO gravitational wave detectors. A result of this investigation is a science-based "figure of merit" that can be used, together with other mission constraints, to optimize the pointing of the Swift telescope for the detection of gravitational waves associated with gamma-ray bursts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)384-390
Number of pages7
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 I
StatePublished - May 20 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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