2900 square degree search for the optical counterpart of short gamma-ray burst GRB 180523B with the zwicky transient facility

Michael W. Coughlin, Tomás Ahumada, S. Bradley Cenko, Virginia Cunningham, Shaon Ghosh, Leo P. Singer, Eric C. Bellm, Eric Burns, Kishalay De, Adam Goldstein, V. Zach Golkhou, David L. Kaplan, Mansi M. Kasliwal, Daniel A. Perley, Jesper Sollerman, Ashot Bagdasaryan, Richard G. Dekany, Dmitry A. Duev, Michael Feeney, Matthew J. GrahamDavid Hale, Shri R. Kulkarni, Thomas Kupfer, Russ R. Laher, Ashish Mahabal, Frank J. Masci, Adam A. Miller, James D. Neill, Maria T. Patterson, Reed Riddle, Ben Rusholme, Roger Smith, Yutaro Tachibana, Richard Walters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


There is significant interest in the models for production of short gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). Until now, the number of known short GRBs with multi-wavelength afterglows has been small. While the Fermi GRB Monitor detects many GRBs relative to the Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory, the large localization regions makes the search for counterparts difficult. With the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) recently achieving first light, it is now fruitful to use its combination of depth (m AB ∼20.6), field of view (≈47 square degrees), and survey cadence (every ∼3 days) to perform Target of Opportunity observations. We demonstrate this capability on GRB 180523B, which was recently announced by the Fermi GRB Monitor as a short GRB. ZTF imaged ≈2900 square degrees of the localization region, resulting in the coverage of 61.6% of the enclosed probability over two nights to a depth of m AB ∼20.5. We characterized 14 previously unidentified transients, and none were found to be consistent with a short GRB counterpart. This search with the ZTF shows it is an efficient camera for searching for coarsely localized short GRB and gravitational-wave counterparts, allowing for a sensitive search with minimal interruption to its nominal cadence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number048001
JournalPublications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Issue number998
StatePublished - Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Based on observations obtained with the Samuel Oschin Telescope 48 inch and the 60 inch Telescope at the Palomar Observatory as part of the Zwicky Transient Facility project. Major funding has been provided by the U.S National Science Foundation under grant No. AST-1440341 and by the ZTF partner institutions: the California Institute of Technology, the Oskar Klein Centre, the Weizmann Institute of Science, the University of Maryland, the University of Washington, Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and the TANGO Program of the University System of Taiwan. M.C. is supported by the David and Ellen Lee Postdoctoral Fellowship at the California Institute of Technology. S.G. is supported by the National Science Foundation with NSF Award PHY-1607585.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019. The Astronomical Society of the Pacific. All rights reserved. Printed in the U.S.A.


  • Gamma rays
  • General


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