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  1. ABSTRACT

    Fast radio bursts (FRBs) are short-duration radio pulses of cosmological origin. Among the most common sources predicted to explain this phenomenon are bright pulses from a class of extremely highly magnetized neutron stars known as magnetars. Motivated by the discovery of an FRB-like pulse from the Galactic magnetar SGR 1935+2154, we searched for similar events in Messier 82 (M82). With a star formation rate 40 times that of the Milky Way, one might expect that the implied rate of events similar to that seen from SGR 1935+2154 from M82 should be 40 times higher than that of the Milky Way. We observed M82 at 1.4 GHz with the 20-m telescope at the Green Bank Observatory for 34.8 d. While we found many candidate events, none had a signal-to-noise ratio greater than 8. We also show that there are insufficient numbers of repeating low-significance events at similar dispersion measures to constitute a statistically significant detection. From these results, we place an upper bound for the rate of radio pulses from M82 to be 30 yr−1 above a fluence limit of 8.5 Jy ms. While this is less than nine times the rate of radio bursts from magnetars in the Milky Way inferred from the previous radio detections of SGR 1935+2154, it is possible that propagation effects from interstellar scattering are currently limiting our ability to detect sources in M82. Further searches of M82 and other nearby galaxies are encouraged to probe this putative FRB population.

     
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  2. ABSTRACT

    We present four new fast radio bursts discovered in a search of the Parkes 70-cm pulsar survey data archive for dispersed single pulses and bursts. We searched dispersion measures (DMs) ranging between 0 and 5000 pc cm−3 with the HEIMDALL and FETCH detection and classification algorithms. All four of the fast radio bursts (FRBs) discovered have significantly larger widths (>50 ms) than almost all of the FRBs detected and catalogued to date. The large pulse widths are not dominated by interstellar scattering or dispersive smearing within channels. One of the FRBs has a DM of 3338 pc cm3, the largest measured for any FRB to date. These are also the first FRBs detected by any radio telescope so far, predating the Lorimer Burst by almost a decade. Our results suggest that pulsar survey archives remain important sources of previously undetected FRBs and that searches for FRBs on time-scales extending beyond ∼100 ms may reveal the presence of a larger population of wide-pulse FRBs.

     
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  3. Abstract We present new discoveries and results from long-term timing of 72 pulsars discovered in the Pulsar Arecibo L -band Feed Array (PALFA) survey, including precise determination of astrometric and spin parameters, and flux density and scatter broadening measurements at 1.4 GHz. Notable discoveries include two young pulsars (characteristic ages ∼30 kyr) with no apparent supernova remnant associations, three mode-changing, 12 nulling and two intermittent pulsars. We detected eight glitches in five pulsars. Among them is PSR J1939+2609, an apparently old pulsar (characteristic age ∼1 Gy), and PSR J1954+2529, which likely belongs to a newly emerging class of binary pulsars. The latter is the only pulsar among the 72 that is clearly not isolated: a nonrecycled neutron star with a 931 ms spin period in an eccentric ( e = 0.114) wide ( P b = 82.7 days) orbit with a companion of undetermined nature having a minimum mass of ∼0.6 M ⊙ . Since operations at Arecibo ceased in 2020 August, we give a final tally of PALFA sky coverage, and compare its 207 pulsar discoveries to the known population. On average, they are 50% more distant than other Galactic plane radio pulsars; PALFA millisecond pulsars (MSPs) have twice the dispersion measure per unit spin period than the known population of MSP in the plane. The four intermittent pulsars discovered by PALFA more than double the population of such objects, which should help to improve our understanding of pulsar magnetosphere physics. The statistics for these, rotating radio transients, and nulling pulsars suggest that there are many more of these objects in the Galaxy than was previously thought. 
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  4. ABSTRACT

    The International Pulsar Timing Array 2nd data release is the combination of data sets from worldwide collaborations. In this study, we search for continuous waves: gravitational wave signals produced by individual supermassive black hole binaries in the local universe. We consider binaries on circular orbits and neglect the evolution of orbital frequency over the observational span. We find no evidence for such signals and set sky averaged 95 per cent upper limits on their amplitude h95. The most sensitive frequency is 10 nHz with h95 = 9.1 × 10−15. We achieved the best upper limit to date at low and high frequencies of the PTA band thanks to improved effective cadence of observations. In our analysis, we have taken into account the recently discovered common red noise process, which has an impact at low frequencies. We also find that the peculiar noise features present in some pulsars data must be taken into account to reduce the false alarm. We show that using custom noise models is essential in searching for continuous gravitational wave signals and setting the upper limit.

     
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  5. ABSTRACT

    We searched for an isotropic stochastic gravitational wave background in the second data release of the International Pulsar Timing Array, a global collaboration synthesizing decadal-length pulsar-timing campaigns in North America, Europe, and Australia. In our reference search for a power-law strain spectrum of the form $h_c = A(f/1\, \mathrm{yr}^{-1})^{\alpha }$, we found strong evidence for a spectrally similar low-frequency stochastic process of amplitude $A = 3.8^{+6.3}_{-2.5}\times 10^{-15}$ and spectral index α = −0.5 ± 0.5, where the uncertainties represent 95 per cent credible regions, using information from the auto- and cross-correlation terms between the pulsars in the array. For a spectral index of α = −2/3, as expected from a population of inspiralling supermassive black hole binaries, the recovered amplitude is $A = 2.8^{+1.2}_{-0.8}\times 10^{-15}$. None the less, no significant evidence of the Hellings–Downs correlations that would indicate a gravitational-wave origin was found. We also analysed the constituent data from the individual pulsar timing arrays in a consistent way, and clearly demonstrate that the combined international data set is more sensitive. Furthermore, we demonstrate that this combined data set produces comparable constraints to recent single-array data sets which have more data than the constituent parts of the combination. Future international data releases will deliver increased sensitivity to gravitational wave radiation, and significantly increase the detection probability.

     
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