Prospects for observing and localizing gravitational-wave transients with advanced LIGO and advanced virgo

LIGO Scientific Collaboration and Virgo Collaborations

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448 Scopus citations


We present a possible observing scenario for the Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo gravitational-wave detectors over the next decade, with the intention of providing information to the astronomy community to facilitate planning for multi-messenger astronomy with gravitational waves. We determine the expected sensitivity of the network to transient gravitational-wave signals, and study the capability of the network to determine the sky location of the source. We report our findings for gravitational-wave transients, with particular focus on gravitational-wave signals from the inspiral of binary neutron-star systems, which are considered the most promising for multi-messenger astronomy. The ability to localize the sources of the detected signals depends on the geographical distribution of the detectors and their relative sensitivity, and 90% credible regions can be as large as thousands of square degrees when only two sensitive detectors are operational. Determining the sky position of a significant fraction of detected signals to areas of 5 deg2to 20 deg2will require at least three detectors of sensitivity within a factor of ~ 2 of each other and with a broad frequency bandwidth. Should the third LIGO detector be relocated to India as expected, a significant fraction of gravitational-wave signals will be localized to a few square degrees by gravitational-wave observations alone.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Pages (from-to)1-39
Number of pages39
JournalLiving Reviews in Relativity
StatePublished - 8 Feb 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s).


  • Data analysis
  • Electromagnetic counterparts
  • Gravitational waves
  • Gravitational-wave detectors


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