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A search for radio afterglows from gamma-ray bursts with the Australian Square Kilometre Array PathfinderABSTRACT 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 »
The discovery of the electromagnetic counterpart to the binary neutron star (NS) merger GW170817 has opened the era of gravitational-wave multimessenger astronomy. Rapid identification of the optical/infrared kilonova enabled a precise localization of the source, which paved the way to deep multiwavelength follow-up and its myriad of related science results. Fully exploiting this new territory of exploration requires the acquisition of electromagnetic data from samples of NS mergers and other gravitational-wave sources. After GW170817, the frontier is now to map the diversity of kilonova properties and provide more stringent constraints on the Hubble constant, and enable new tests of fundamental physics. The Vera C. Rubin Observatory’s Legacy Survey of Space and Time can play a key role in this field in the 2020s, when an improved network of gravitational-wave detectors is expected to reach a sensitivity that will enable the discovery of a high rate of merger events involving NSs (∼tens per year) out to distances of several hundred megaparsecs. We design comprehensive target-of-opportunity observing strategies for follow-up of gravitational-wave triggers that will make the Rubin Observatory the premier instrument for discovery and early characterization of NS and other compact-object mergers, and yet unknown classes of gravitational-wave events.