AGILE search for gamma-ray counterparts of gravitational wave events

  • Francesco VerrecchiaEmail author
  • Marco Tavani
  • Andrea Bulgarelli
  • Martina Cardillo
  • Claudio Casentini
  • Immacolata Donnarumma
  • Francesco Longo
  • Fabrizio Lucarelli
  • Nicoló Parmiggiani
  • Giovanni Piano
  • Maura Pilia
  • Carlotta Pittori
  • Alessandro Ursi
  • the AGILE Team
A Decade of AGILE
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. A Decade of AGILE: Results, Challenges and Prospects of Gamma-Ray Astrophysics


AGILE is a space mission of the Italian Space Agency dedicated to X-ray and gamma-ray astrophysics operating since 2007. Since the discovery of gravitational wave (GW) events by the LIGO-Virgo Collaboration (LVC) announced in February 2016, AGILE is playing a very important role in the search for possible X-ray and gamma-ray counterparts. The large fields of view of the gamma-ray and hard X-ray imagers (2.5 sr and 1 sr, respectively) and the current spinning mode allow AGILE to cover at any moment a very large fraction of the sky. We present here an overview of AGILE observations of GW events during the LVC observing periods O1 and O2 which span the time interval September 2015–August 2017. In particular, we focus on the main characteristics of AGILE observations of the events GW150914, GW170104, and GW170817. The latter event is of great relevance being associated with a “kilonova” counterpart: we establish important physical constraints on the possible \(\gamma\)-ray emission from a magnetar-like remnant in the first \(\sim 1000\) s following the GW event time. We also present further developments and preliminary results obtained in preparation of the O3 observing run (start in April 2019). AGILE is fully operative in the search for GW event counterparts, and continues to observe the sky in a unique way because of its combination of large field-of-view hard X-ray and gamma-ray detectors.


Gamma rays: observations Gravitational waves General relativity 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. Abbott BP, Abbott R, Abbott TD et al (2016) GW150914: First results from the search for binary black hole coalescence with Advanced LIGO. Phys Rev D 93:122003CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Abbott BP, Abbott R, Abbott TD et al (2017a) GW170817: Observation of gravitational waves from a binary neutron star inspiral. Phys Rev Lett 119:161101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Abbott BP, Abbott R, Abbott TD et al (2017b) GW170104: Observation of a 50-solar-mass binary black hole coalescence at redshift 0.2. Phys Rev Lett 118:221101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Abbott BP, Abbott R, Abbott TD et al (2017c) GW170814: A three-detector observation of gravitational waves from a binary black hole coalescence. Phys Rev Lett 119:141101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Abbott BP, Abbott R, Abbott TD et al (2017d) Multi-messenger observations of a binary neutron star merger. Astrophys J Lett 848:L12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bulgarelli A, Tavani M, Verrecchia F, et al (2017) LIGO/Virgo G298048: AGILE-GRID analysis of the potential counterpart field. GRB Coord Netw:21564Google Scholar
  7. Goldstein A, Veres P, Burns E et al (2017) An ordinary short gamma-ray burst with extraordinary implications: fermi-GBM detection of GRB 170817A. Astrophys J Lett 848:L14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Longo F, Piano G, Cardillo M et al (2017a) LIGO/Virgo G297595: AGILE MCAL observations. GRB Coord Netw 21477:1Google Scholar
  9. Longo F, Verrecchia F, Piano G et al (2017b) LIGO/Virgo G297595: AGILE GRID observations. GRB Coord Netw 21482:1Google Scholar
  10. Piano G, Verrecchia F, Pilia M, Cardillo C, Tavani M, et al (2017) LIGO/Virgo G298048: AGILE GRID observations. GRB Coord Netw:21526Google Scholar
  11. Pilia M, Cardillo C, Piano G, et al (2017) LIGO/Virgo G298048: AGILE MCAL observations. GRB Coord Netw:21525Google Scholar
  12. Savchenko V, Ferrigno C, Kuulkers E et al (2017) INTEGRAL detection of the first prompt gamma-ray signal coincident with the gravitational-wave event GW170817. Astrophys J Lett 848:L15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Tavani M, Barbiellini G, Argan A et al (2009) The AGILE mission. A&A 502:995CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Tavani M, Pittori C, Verrecchia F et al (2016) AGILE Observations of the gravitational-wave event GW150914. Astrophys J 825:L4CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Tavani M, Ursi A, Fuschino F et al (2017a) LIGO/Virgo G268556: AGILE MCAL and super-AGILE observations. GRB Coord Netw 20375:1Google Scholar
  16. Tavani M, Verrecchia F, Minervini G et al (2017b) LIGO/Virgo G268556: AGILE-GRID preliminary analysis. GRB Coord Netw 20395:1Google Scholar
  17. Ursi A, Tavani M, Verrecchia F et al (2019) A new AGILE MCAL configuration to detect gamma-ray bursts and sub-threshold events in the multimessenger era. Astrophys J 871:27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Verrecchia F, Tavani M, Donnarumma I et al (2017) AGILE observations of the gravitational-wave source GW170817: constraining gamma-ray emission from an NS–NS Coalescence. Astrophys J Lett 850:L27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Verrecchia F, Tavani M, Ursi A et al (2017) AGILE observations of the gravitational-wave source GW170104. Astrophys J Lett 847:L20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Verrecchia F, Tavani M, Donnarumma I et al (2018) AGILE observations of GW events. Int Astron Union 338:84Google Scholar
  21. Verrecchia F, Cardillo M, Bulgarelli A, et al (2017) LIGO/Virgo G298048: AGILE-GRID analysis of data contemporary to X-ray emission from SSS17a in NGC4993. GRB Coord Netw:21785Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.SSDC/ASIRomeItaly
  2. 2.INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di RomaRomeItaly
  3. 3.INAF/IAPSRomeItaly
  4. 4.INAF/IASF-BolognaBolognaItaly
  5. 5.ASIRomeItaly
  6. 6.Dipartimento di FisicaUniversità di Trieste and INFNTriesteItaly
  7. 7.INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di CagliariSelargiusItaly

Personalised recommendations