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  1. Abstract We report the discovery of a highly circularly polarized, variable, steep-spectrum pulsar in the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) Variables and Slow Transients (VAST) survey. The pulsar is located about 1° from the center of the Large Magellanic Cloud, and has a significant fractional circular polarization of ∼20%. We discovered pulsations with a period of 322.5 ms, dispersion measure (DM) of 157.5 pc cm −3 , and rotation measure (RM) of +456 rad m −2 using observations from the MeerKAT and the Parkes telescopes. This DM firmly places the source, PSR J0523−7125, in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). This RM is extreme compared to other pulsars in the LMC (more than twice that of the largest previously reported one). The average flux density of ∼1 mJy at 1400 MHz and ∼25 mJy at 400 MHz places it among the most luminous radio pulsars known. It likely evaded previous discovery because of its very steep radio spectrum (spectral index α ≈ −3, where S ν ∝ ν α ) and broad pulse profile (duty cycle ≳35%). We discuss implications for searches for unusual radio sources in continuum images, as well as extragalactic pulsars in the Magellanic Clouds and beyond.more »Our result highlighted the possibility of identifying pulsars, especially extreme pulsars, from radio continuum images. Future large-scale radio surveys will give us an unprecedented opportunity to discover more pulsars and potentially the most distant pulsars beyond the Magellanic Clouds.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2023
  2. ABSTRACT The detection of gravitational waves from a neutron star merger, GW170817, marked the dawn of a new era in time-domain astronomy. Monitoring of the radio emission produced by the merger, including high-resolution radio imaging, enabled measurements of merger properties including the energetics and inclination angle. In this work, we compare the capabilities of current and future gravitational wave facilities to the sensitivity of radio facilities to quantify the prospects for detecting the radio afterglows of gravitational wave events. We consider three observing strategies to identify future mergers – wide field follow-up, targeting galaxies within the merger localization and deep monitoring of known counterparts. We find that while planned radio facilities like the Square Kilometre Array will be capable of detecting mergers at gigaparsec distances, no facilities are sufficiently sensitive to detect mergers at the range of proposed third-generation gravitational wave detectors that would operate starting in the 2030s.
  3. ABSTRACT We present a search for radio afterglows from long gamma-ray bursts using the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP). Our search used the Rapid ASKAP Continuum Survey, covering the entire celestial sphere south of declination +41○, and three epochs of the Variables and Slow Transients Pilot Survey (Phase 1), covering ∼5000 square degrees per epoch. The observations we used from these surveys spanned a nine-month period from 2019 April 21 to 2020 January 11. We cross-matched radio sources found in these surveys with 779 well-localized (to ≤15 arcsec) long gamma-ray bursts occurring after 2004 and determined whether the associations were more likely afterglow- or host-related through the analysis of optical images. In our search, we detected one radio afterglow candidate associated with GRB 171205A, a local low-luminosity gamma-ray burst with a supernova counterpart SN 2017iuk, in an ASKAP observation 511 d post-burst. We confirmed this detection with further observations of the radio afterglow using the Australia Telescope Compact Array at 859 and 884 d post-burst. Combining this data with archival data from early-time radio observations, we showed the evolution of the radio spectral energy distribution alone could reveal clear signatures of a wind-like circumburst medium for the burst. Finally, we derived semi-analytical estimatesmore »for the microphysical shock parameters of the burst: electron power-law index p = 2.84, normalized wind-density parameter A* = 3, fractional energy in electrons ϵe = 0.3, and fractional energy in magnetic fields ϵB = 0.0002.« less
  4. ABSTRACT The jet opening angle and inclination of GW170817 – the first detected binary neutron star merger – were vital to understand its energetics, relation to short gamma-ray bursts, and refinement of the standard siren-based determination of the Hubble constant, H0. These basic quantities were determined through a combination of the radio light curve and Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) measurements of proper motion. In this paper, we discuss and quantify the prospects for the use of radio VLBI observations and observations of scintillation-induced variability to measure the source size and proper motion of merger afterglows, and thereby infer properties of the merger including inclination angle, opening angle, and energetics. We show that these techniques are complementary as they probe different parts of the circum-merger density/inclination angle parameter space and different periods of the temporal evolution of the afterglow. We also find that while VLBI observations will be limited to the very closest events it will be possible to detect scintillation for a large fraction of events beyond the range of current gravitational wave detectors. Scintillation will also be detectable with next-generation telescopes such as the Square Kilometre Array, 2000 antenna Deep Synoptic Array, and the next-generation Very Large Array,more »for a large fraction of events detected with third-generation gravitational wave detectors. Finally, we discuss prospects for the measurement of the H0 with VLBI observations of neutron star mergers and compare this technique to other standard siren methods.« less
  5. Abstract We discuss observational strategies to detect prompt bursts associated with gravitational wave (GW) events using the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP). Many theoretical models of binary neutron stars mergers predict that bright, prompt radio emission would accompany the merger. The detection of such prompt emission would greatly improve our knowledge of the physical conditions, environment, and location of the merger. However, searches for prompt emission are complicated by the relatively poor localisation for GW events, with the 90% credible region reaching hundreds or even thousands of square degrees. Operating in fly’s eye mode, the ASKAP field of view can reach $\sim1\,000$ deg $^2$ at $\sim$ $888\,{\rm MHz}$ . This potentially allows observers to cover most of the 90% credible region quickly enough to detect prompt emission. We use skymaps for GW170817 and GW190814 from LIGO/Virgo’s third observing run to simulate the probability of detecting prompt emission for GW events in the upcoming fourth observing run. With only alerts released after merger, we find it difficult to slew the telescope sufficiently quickly as to capture any prompt emission. However, with the addition of alerts released before merger by negative-latency pipelines, we find that it should be possible to searchmore »for nearby, bright prompt fast radio burst-like emission from GW events. Nonetheless, the rates are low: we would expect to observe $\sim$ 0.012 events during the fourth observing run, assuming that the prompt emission is emitted microseconds around the merger.« less
  6. We present 42 rapidly evolving (time spent above half-maximum brightness t1/2<12d) extragalactic transients from Phase I of the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), of which 22 have spectroscopic classifications. This is one of the largest systematically selected samples of day-timescale transients, and the first with spectroscopic classifications. Most can be classified as core-collapse supernovae (SNe), and we identify several predominant subtypes: (1) subluminous Type IIb or Type Ib SNe; (2) luminous Type Ibn or hybrid IIn/Ibn SNe; and (3) radio-loud, short-duration luminous events similar to AT2018cow. We conclude that rates quoted in the literature for rapidly evolving extragalactic transients are dominated by the subluminous events (mostly Type IIb SNe). From our spectroscopic classifications and radio, X-ray, and millimeter-band upper limits, we are motivated to consider the AT2018cow-like objects a distinct class, and use ZTF's systematic classification experiments to calculate that their rate does not exceed 0.1% of the local core-collapse SN rate, in agreement with previous work. By contrast, most other events are simply the extreme of a continuum of established SN types extending to ordinary timescales. The light curves of our objects are very similar to those of unclassified events in the literature, illustrating how spectroscopically classified samples of low-redshiftmore »objects in shallow surveys like ZTF can be used to photometrically classify larger numbers of events at higher redshift.« less