Science, Vol.358, No.6370, 1556-1558, 2017
Swope Supernova Survey 2017a (SSS17a), the optical counterpart to a gravitational wave source
On 17 August 2017, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and the Virgo interferometer detected gravitational waves (GWs) emanating from a binary neutron star merger, GW170817. Nearly simultaneously, the Fermi and INTEGRAL (INTErnational Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory) telescopes detected a gamma-ray transient, GRB 170817A. At 10.9 hours after the GW trigger, we discovered a transient and fading optical source, Swope Supernova Survey 2017a (SSS17a), coincident with GW170817. SSS17a is located in NGC 4993, an S0 galaxy at a distance of 40 megaparsecs. The precise location of GW170817 provides an opportunity to probe the nature of these cataclysmic events by combining electromagnetic and GW observations.