On February 17 2016, the IceCube real-time neutrino search identified, for the first time, three muon neutrino candidates arriving within 100 s of each other which are consistent with a point source origin. Such a triplet is expected only once every 13.7 years as a random coincidence of background events. However, considering the lifetime of the follow-up program the probability to detect at least one triplet from atmospheric backgrounds is 32%. Follow-up observatories were notified in order to search for an electromagnetic counterpart. Observations were obtained by Swift’s X-ray telescope, by ASAS-SN, LCO and MASTER at optical wavelengths, and by VERITAS in the very high energy gamma-ray regime. Moreover, the Swift BAT serendipitously observed the location 100 s after the first neutrino was detected, and data from the Fermi LAT and HAWC were analyzed. We present details of the neutrino triplet and the follow-up observations. No likely electromagnetic counterpart was detected, and we discuss the implications of these constraints on candidate neutrino sources such as gamma-ray bursts, core-collapse supernovae and active galactic nucleus flares. This study illustrates the potential of and challenges for future follow-up campaigns.
M. Aartsen, M. Ackermann, J. Adams, et. al.
Wed, 22 Feb 17
Comments: 23 pages, 13 figures, submitted to A&A on Feb 14 2017