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  1. ABSTRACT

    We constrain the Hubble constant H0 using Fast Radio Burst (FRB) observations from the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) and Murriyang (Parkes) radio telescopes. We use the redshift-dispersion measure (‘Macquart’) relationship, accounting for the intrinsic luminosity function, cosmological gas distribution, population evolution, host galaxy contributions to the dispersion measure (DMhost), and observational biases due to burst duration and telescope beamshape. Using an updated sample of 16 ASKAP FRBs detected by the Commensal Real-time ASKAP Fast Transients (CRAFT) Survey and localized to their host galaxies, and 60 unlocalized FRBs from Parkes and ASKAP, our best-fitting value of H0 is calculated to be $73_{-8}^{+12}$ km s−1 Mpc−1. Uncertainties in FRB energetics and DMhost produce larger uncertainties in the inferred value of H0 compared to previous FRB-based estimates. Using a prior on H0 covering the 67–74 km s−1 Mpc−1 range, we estimate a median ${\rm DM}_{\rm host}= 186_{-48}^{+59}\,{\rm pc \, cm^{-3}}$, exceeding previous estimates. We confirm that the FRB population evolves with redshift similarly to the star-formation rate. We use a Schechter luminosity function to constrain the maximum FRB energy to be log10Emax$=41.26_{-0.22}^{+0.27}$ erg assuming a characteristic FRB emission bandwidth of 1 GHz at 1.3 GHz, and the cumulative luminosity index to be $\gamma =-0.95_{-0.15}^{+0.18}$. We demonstrate with a samplemore »of 100 mock FRBs that H0 can be measured with an uncertainty of ±2.5 km s−1 Mpc−1, demonstrating the potential for clarifying the Hubble tension with an upgraded ASKAP FRB search system. Last, we explore a range of sample and selection biases that affect FRB analyses.

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  2. ABSTRACT We present a low-frequency (170–200 MHz) search for prompt radio emission associated with the long GRB 210419A using the rapid-response mode of the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA), triggering observations with the Voltage Capture System for the first time. The MWA began observing GRB 210419A within 89 s of its detection by Swift, enabling us to capture any dispersion delayed signal emitted by this gamma-ray burst (GRB) for a typical range of redshifts. We conducted a standard single pulse search with a temporal and spectral resolution of $100\, \mu$s and 10 kHz over a broad range of dispersion measures from 1 to $5000\, \text{pc}\, \text{cm}^{-3}$, but none were detected. However, fluence upper limits of 77–224 Jy ms derived over a pulse width of 0.5–10 ms and a redshift of 0.6 < z < 4 are some of the most stringent at low radio frequencies. We compared these fluence limits to the GRB jet–interstellar medium interaction model, placing constraints on the fraction of magnetic energy (ϵB ≲ [0.05–0.1]). We also searched for signals during the X-ray flaring activity of GRB 210419A on minute time-scales in the image domain and found no emission, resulting in an intensity upper limit of $0.57\, \text{Jy}\, \text{beam}^{-1}$, corresponding to a constraint ofmore »ϵB ≲ 10−3. Our non-detection could imply that GRB 210419A was at a high redshift, there was not enough magnetic energy for low-frequency emission, or the radio waves did not escape from the GRB environment.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 21, 2023
  3. ABSTRACT Fast radio bursts (FRBs) are extremely powerful sources of radio waves observed at cosmological distances. We use a sophisticated model of FRB observations – presented in detail in a companion paper – to fit FRB population parameters using large samples of FRBs detected by ASKAP and Parkes, including seven sources with confirmed host galaxies. Our fitted parameters demonstrate that the FRB population evolves with redshift in a manner consistent with, or faster than, the star formation rate (SFR), ruling out a non-evolving population at better than 98 per cent CL (depending on modelling uncertainties). Our estimated maximum FRB energy is $\log _{10} E_{\rm max} [{\rm erg}] = 41.70_{-0.06}^{+0.53}$ (68 per cent CL) assuming a 1 GHz emission bandwidth, with slope of the cumulative luminosity distribution $\gamma =-1.09_{-0.10}^{+0.14}$. We find a log-mean host DM contribution of $129_{-48}^{+66}$ pc cm−3 on top of a typical local (interstellar medium and halo) contribution of ∼80 pc cm−3, which is higher than most literature values. These results are insensitive to assumptions of the FRB spectral index, and are consistent with the model of FRBs arising as the high-energy limit of magnetar bursts, but allow for FRB progenitors that evolve faster than the SFR.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 9, 2022
  4. ABSTRACT We develop a sophisticated model of fast radio burst (FRB) observations, accounting for the intrinsic cosmological gas distribution and host galaxy contributions, and give the most detailed account yet of observational biases due to burst width, dispersion measure, and the exact telescope beamshape. Our results offer a significant increase in both accuracy and precision beyond those previously obtained. Using results from ASKAP and Parkes, we present our best-fitting FRB population parameters in a companion paper. Here, we consider in detail the expected and fitted distributions in redshift, dispersion measure, and signal to noise. We estimate that the unlocalized ASKAP FRBs arise from z < 0.5, with between a third and a half within z < 0.1. Our predicted source-counts (‘logN–logS’) distribution confirms previous indications of a steepening index near the Parkes detection threshold of 1 Jy ms. We find no evidence for a minimum FRB energy, and rule out Emin > 1039.0 erg at 90 per cent C.L. Importantly, we find that above a certain DM, observational biases cause the Macquart (DM–z) relation to become inverted, implying that the highest-DM events detected in the unlocalized Parkes and ASKAP samples are unlikely to be the most distant. More localized FRBs will be required to quantitativelymore »estimate this effect, though its cause is a well-understood observational bias. Works assuming a 1–1 DM–z relation may therefore derive erroneous results. Our analysis of errors suggests that limiting factors in our analysis are understanding of FRB spectral behaviour, sensitivity response of search experiments, and the treatment of the repeating population and luminosity function.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 9, 2022
  5. Abstract Many short gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) originate from binary neutron star mergers, and there are several theories that predict the production of coherent, prompt radio signals either prior, during, or shortly following the merger, as well as persistent pulsar-like emission from the spin-down of a magnetar remnant. Here we present a low frequency (170–200 MHz) search for coherent radio emission associated with nine short GRBs detected by the Swift and/or Fermi satellites using the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) rapid-response observing mode. The MWA began observing these events within 30–60 s of their high-energy detection, enabling us to capture any dispersion delayed signals emitted by short GRBs for a typical range of redshifts. We conducted transient searches at the GRB positions on timescales of 5 s, 30 s, and 2 min, resulting in the most constraining flux density limits on any associated transient of 0.42, 0.29, and 0.084 Jy, respectively. We also searched for dispersed signals at a temporal and spectral resolution of 0.5 s and 1.28 MHz, but none were detected. However, the fluence limit of 80–100 Jy ms derived for GRB 190627A is the most stringent to date for a short GRB. Assuming the formation of a stable magnetarmore »for this GRB, we compared the fluence and persistent emission limits to short GRB coherent emission models, placing constraints on key parameters including the radio emission efficiency of the nearly merged neutron stars ( $\epsilon_r\lesssim10^{-4}$ ), the fraction of magnetic energy in the GRB jet ( $\epsilon_B\lesssim2\times10^{-4}$ ), and the radio emission efficiency of the magnetar remnant ( $\epsilon_r\lesssim10^{-3}$ ). Comparing the limits derived for our full GRB sample (along with those in the literature) to the same emission models, we demonstrate that our fluence limits only place weak constraints on the prompt emission predicted from the interaction between the relativistic GRB jet and the interstellar medium for a subset of magnetar parameters. However, the 30-min flux density limits were sensitive enough to theoretically detect the persistent radio emission from magnetar remnants up to a redshift of $z\sim0.6$ . Our non-detection of this emission could imply that some GRBs in the sample were not genuinely short or did not result from a binary neutron star merger, the GRBs were at high redshifts, these mergers formed atypical magnetars, the radiation beams of the magnetar remnants were pointing away from Earth, or the majority did not form magnetars but rather collapse directly into black holes.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023
  6. Context. Fast radio bursts (FRBs) are extremely energetic pulses of millisecond duration and unknown origin. To understand the phenomenon that emits these pulses, targeted and un-targeted searches have been performed for multiwavelength counterparts, including the optical. Aims. The objective of this work is to search for optical transients at the positions of eight well-localized (< 1″) FRBs after the arrival of the burst on different timescales (typically at one day, several months, and one year after FRB detection). We then compare this with known optical light curves to constrain progenitor models. Methods. We used the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope (LCOGT) network to promptly take images with its network of 23 telescopes working around the world. We used a template subtraction technique to analyze all the images collected at differing epochs. We have divided the difference images into two groups: In one group we use the image of the last epoch as a template, and in the other group we use the image of the first epoch as a template. We then searched for optical transients at the localizations of the FRBs in the template subtracted images. Results. We have found no optical transients and have therefore set limiting magnitudesmore »to the optical counterparts. Typical limits in apparent and absolute magnitudes for our LCOGT data are ∼22 and −19 mag in the r band, respectively. We have compared our limiting magnitudes with light curves of super-luminous supernovae (SLSNe), Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia), supernovae associated with gamma-ray bursts (GRB-SNe), a kilonova, and tidal disruption events (TDEs). Conclusions. Assuming that the FRB emission coincides with the time of explosion of these transients, we rule out associations with SLSNe (at the ∼99.9% confidence level) and the brightest subtypes of SNe Ia, GRB-SNe, and TDEs (at a similar confidence level). However, we cannot exclude scenarios where FRBs are directly associated with the faintest of these subtypes or with kilonovae.« less
  7. Abstract The detection of a neutron star merger by the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory and Advanced Virgo gravitational wave detectors, and the subsequent detection of an electromagnetic counterpart have opened a new era of transient astronomy. With upgrades to the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory and Advanced Virgo detectors and new detectors coming online in Japan and India, neutron star mergers will be detected at a higher rate in the future, starting with the O3 observing run which will begin in early 2019. The detection of electromagnetic emission from these mergers provides vital information about merger parameters and allows independent measurement of the Hubble constant. The Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder is expected to become fully operational in early 2019, and its 30 deg 2 field of view will enable us to rapidly survey large areas of sky. In this work we explore prospects for detecting both prompt and long-term radio emission from neutron star mergers with Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder and determine an observing strategy that optimises the use of telescope time. We investigate different strategies to tile the sky with telescope pointings in order to detect radio counterparts with limited observing time, using 475 simulated gravitationalmore »wave events. Our results show a significant improvement in observing efficiency when compared with a naïve strategy of covering the entire localisation above some confidence threshold, even when achieving the same total probability covered.« less