skip to main content

Title: An FRB Sent Me a DM: Constraining the Electron Column of the Milky Way Halo with Fast Radio Burst Dispersion Measures from CHIME/FRB

The CHIME/FRB project has detected hundreds of fast radio bursts (FRBs), providing an unparalleled population to statistically probe the foreground media that they illuminate. One such foreground medium is the ionized halo of the Milky Way (MW). We estimate the total Galactic electron column density from FRB dispersion measures (DMs) as a function of Galactic latitude using four different estimators, including ones that assume spherical symmetry of the ionized MW halo and ones that imply more latitudinal variation in density. Our observation-based constraints of the total Galactic DM contribution for ∣b∣ ≥ 30°, depending on the Galactic latitude and selected model, span 87.8–141 pc cm−3. This constraint implies upper limits on the MW halo DM contribution that range over 52–111 pc cm−3. We discuss the viability of various gas density profiles for the MW halo that have been used to estimate the halo’s contribution to DMs of extragalactic sources. Several models overestimate the DM contribution, especially when assuming higher halo gas masses (∼3.5 × 1012M). Some halo models predict a higher MW halo DM contribution than can be supported by our observations unless the effect of feedback is increased within them, highlighting the impact of feedback processes in galaxy more » formation.

« less
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; more » ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; « less
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
Article No. 58
DOI PREFIX: 10.3847
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    Fast radio bursts (FRBs) are brief, energetic, typically extragalactic flashes of radio emission whose progenitors are largely unknown. Although studying the FRB population is essential for understanding how these astrophysical phenomena occur, such studies have been difficult to conduct without large numbers of FRBs and characterizable observational biases. Using the recently released catalog of 536 FRBs published by the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment/Fast Radio Burst (CHIME/FRB) collaboration, we present a study of the FRB population that also calibrates for selection effects. Assuming a Schechter function, we infer a characteristic energy cut-off ofEchar=2.381.64+5.35×1041erg and a differential power-law index ofγ=1.30.4+0.7. Simultaneously, we infer a volumetric rate of [7.33.8+8.8(stat.)1.8+2.0(sys.)]×104Gpc−3yr−1above a pivot energy of 1039erg and below a scattering timescale of 10 ms at 600 MHz, and find we cannot significantly constrain the cosmic evolution of the FRB population with star-formation rate. Modeling the host’s dispersion measure (DM) contribution as a log-normal distribution and assuming a total Galactic contribution of 80 pc cm−3, we find a median value ofDMhost=8449+69pc cm−3, comparable with values typically used in the literature. Proposed models for FRB progenitors shouldmore »be consistent with the energetics and abundances of the full FRB population predicted by our results. Finally, we infer the redshift distribution of FRBs detected with CHIME, which will be tested with the localizations and redshifts enabled by the upcoming CHIME/FRB Outriggers project.

    « less
  2. Abstract We present a high-resolution analysis of the host galaxy of fast radio burst (FRB) 190608, an SB(r)c galaxy at z = 0.11778 (hereafter HG 190608), to dissect its local environment and its contributions to the FRB properties. Our Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field Camera 3 ultraviolet and visible light image reveals that the subarcsecond localization of FRB 190608 is coincident with a knot of star formation (Σ SFR = 1.5 × 10 −2 M ⊙ yr −1 kpc −2 ) in the northwest spiral arm of HG 190608. Using H β emission present in our Keck Cosmic Web Imager integral field spectrum of the galaxy with a surface brightness of μ H β = ( 3.36 ± 0.21 ) × 10 − 17 erg s − 1 cm − 2 arcsec − 2 , we infer an extinction-corrected H α surface brightness and compute a dispersion measure (DM) from the interstellar medium of HG 190608 of DM Host,ISM = 94 ± 38 pc cm −3 . The galaxy rotates with a circular velocity v circ = 141 ± 8 km s −1 at an inclination i gas = 37° ± 3°, giving a dynamical mass M halo dyn ≈more »10 11.96 ± 0.08 M ⊙ . This implies a halo contribution to the DM of DM Host,Halo = 55 ± 25 pc cm −3 subject to assumptions on the density profile and fraction of baryons retained. From the galaxy rotation curve, we infer a bar-induced pattern speed of Ω p = 34 ± 6 km s −1 kpc −1 using linear resonance theory. We then calculate the maximum time since star formation for a progenitor using the furthest distance to the arm’s leading edge within the localization, and find t enc = 21 − 6 + 25 Myr. Unlike previous high-resolution studies of FRB environments, we find no evidence of disturbed morphology, emission, or kinematics for FRB 190608.« less
  3. Abstract A sample of 14 FRBs with measured redshifts and scattering times is used to assess contributions to dispersion and scattering from the intergalactic medium (IGM), galaxy halos, and the disks of host galaxies. The IGM and galaxy halos contribute significantly to dispersion measures (DMs) but evidently not to scattering, which is then dominated by host galaxies. This enables the usage of scattering times for estimating DM contributions from host galaxies and also for a combined scattering–dispersion redshift estimator. Redshift estimation is calibrated using the scattering of Galactic pulsars after taking into account different scattering geometries for Galactic and intergalactic lines of sight. The DM-only estimator has a bias of ∼0.1 and rms error of ∼0.15 in the redshift estimate for an assumed ad hoc value of 50 pc cm −3 for the host galaxy’s DM contribution. The combined redshift estimator shows less bias by a factor of 4 to 10 and a 20%–40% smaller rms error. We find that values for the baryonic fraction of the ionized IGM f igm ≃ 0.85 ± 0.05 optimize redshift estimation using dispersion and scattering. Our study suggests that 2 of the 14 candidate galaxy associations (FRB 20190523A and FRB 20190611B) should bemore »reconsidered.« less
  4. Abstract

    We present a catalog of 536 fast radio bursts (FRBs) detected by the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment Fast Radio Burst (CHIME/FRB) Project between 400 and 800 MHz from 2018 July 25 to 2019 July 1, including 62 bursts from 18 previously reported repeating sources. The catalog represents the first large sample, including bursts from repeaters and nonrepeaters, observed in a single survey with uniform selection effects. This facilitates comparative and absolute studies of the FRB population. We show that repeaters and apparent nonrepeaters have sky locations and dispersion measures (DMs) that are consistent with being drawn from the same distribution. However, bursts from repeating sources differ from apparent nonrepeaters in intrinsic temporal width and spectral bandwidth. Through injection of simulated events into our detection pipeline, we perform an absolute calibration of selection effects to account for systematic biases. We find evidence for a population of FRBs—composing a large fraction of the overall population—with a scattering time at 600 MHz in excess of 10 ms, of which only a small fraction are observed by CHIME/FRB. We infer a power-law index for the cumulative fluence distribution ofα=1.40±0.11(stat.)0.09+0.06(sys.), consistent with the −3/2more »expectation for a nonevolving population in Euclidean space. We find thatαis steeper for high-DM events and shallower for low-DM events, which is what would be expected when DM is correlated with distance. We infer a sky rate of[820±60(stat.)200+220(sys.)]/sky/dayabove a fluence of 5 Jy ms at 600 MHz, with a scattering time at 600 MHz under 10 ms and DM above 100 pc cm−3.

    « less
  5. Abstract

    We present the discovery of 25 new repeating fast radio burst (FRB) sources found among CHIME/FRB events detected between 2019 September 30 and 2021 May 1. The sources were found using a new clustering algorithm that looks for multiple events colocated on the sky having similar dispersion measures (DMs). The new repeaters have DMs ranging from ∼220 to ∼1700 pc cm−3, and include sources having exhibited as few as two bursts to as many as twelve. We report a statistically significant difference in both the DM and extragalactic DM (eDM) distributions between repeating and apparently nonrepeating sources, with repeaters having a lower mean DM and eDM, and we discuss the implications. We find no clear bimodality between the repetition rates of repeaters and upper limits on repetition from apparently nonrepeating sources after correcting for sensitivity and exposure effects, although some active repeating sources stand out as anomalous. We measure the repeater fraction over time and find that it tends to an equilibrium of2.62.6+2.9% over our total time-on-sky thus far. We also report on 14 more sources, which are promising repeating FRB candidates and which merit follow-up observations for confirmation.