# LOFAR 144-MHz follow-up observations of GW170817

Publisher:
OXFORD UNIV PRESS
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, 2020, 494, (4), pp. 5110-5117
Issue Date:
2020-06-01
ABSTRACT We present low-radio-frequency follow-up observations of AT 2017gfo, the electromagnetic counterpart of GW170817, which was the first binary neutron star merger to be detected by Advanced LIGO–Virgo. These data, with a central frequency of 144 MHz, were obtained with LOFAR, the Low-Frequency Array. The maximum elevation of the target is just 13${_{.}^{\circ}}$7 when observed with LOFAR, making our observations particularly challenging to calibrate and significantly limiting the achievable sensitivity. On time-scales of 130–138 and 371–374 d after the merger event, we obtain 3σ upper limits for the afterglow component of 6.6 and 19.5 mJy beam−1, respectively. Using our best upper limit and previously published, contemporaneous higher frequency radio data, we place a limit on any potential steepening of the radio spectrum between 610 and 144 MHz: the two-point spectral index $\alpha ^{610}_{144} \gtrsim$ −2.5. We also show that LOFAR can detect the afterglows of future binary neutron star merger events occurring at more favourable elevations.