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  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. ABSTRACT We report the discovery of J0624–6948, a low-surface brightness radio ring, lying between the Galactic Plane and the large magellanic cloud (LMC). It was first detected at 888 MHz with the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), and with a diameter of ∼196 arcsec. This source has phenomenological similarities to odd radio circles (ORCs). Significant differences to the known ORCs – a flatter radio spectral index, the lack of a prominent central galaxy as a possible host, and larger apparent size – suggest that J0624–6948 may be a different type of object. We argue that the most plausible explanation for J0624–6948 is an intergalactic supernova remnant due to a star that resided in the LMC outskirts that had undergone a single-degenerate type Ia supernova, and we are seeing its remnant expand into a rarefied, intergalactic environment. We also examine if a massive star or a white dwarf binary ejected from either galaxy could be the supernova progenitor. Finally, we consider several other hypotheses for the nature of the object, including the jets of an active galactic nucleus (30Dor) or the remnant of a nearby stellar super-flare.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 15, 2023
  4. Abstract We present a broadband radio study of the transient jets ejected from the black hole candidate X-ray binary MAXI J1535–571, which underwent a prolonged outburst beginning on 2017 September 2. We monitored MAXI J1535–571 with the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) at frequencies from 119 to 186 MHz over six epochs from 2017 September 20 to 2017 October 14. The source was quasi-simultaneously observed over the frequency range 0.84–19 GHz by UTMOST (the Upgraded Molonglo Observatory Synthesis Telescope) the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA), and the Australian Long Baseline Array (LBA). Using the LBA observations from 2017 September 23, we measured the source size to be $34\pm1$ mas. During the brightest radio flare on 2017 September 21, the source was detected down to 119 MHz by the MWA, and the radio spectrum indicates a turnover between 250 and 500 MHz, which is most likely due to synchrotron self-absorption (SSA). By fitting the radio spectrum with a SSA model and using the LBA size measurement, we determined various physical parameters of the jet knot (identified in ATCA data), including the jet opening angle ( $\phi_{\rm op} = 4.5\pm1.2^{\circ}$ ) and the magnetic field strengthmore »( $B_{\rm s} = 104^{+80}_{-78}$ mG). Our fitted magnetic field strength agrees reasonably well with that inferred from the standard equipartition approach, suggesting the jet knot to be close to equipartition. Our study highlights the capabilities of the Australian suite of radio telescopes to jointly probe radio jets in black hole X-ray binaries via simultaneous observations over a broad frequency range, and with differing angular resolutions. This suite allows us to determine the physical properties of X-ray binary jets. Finally, our study emphasises the potential contributions that can be made by the low-frequency part of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA-Low) in the study of black hole X-ray binaries.« less
  5. ABSTRACT XTE J1810−197 (J1810) was the first magnetar identified to emit radio pulses, and has been extensively studied during a radio-bright phase in 2003–2008. It is estimated to be relatively nearby compared to other Galactic magnetars, and provides a useful prototype for the physics of high magnetic fields, magnetar velocities, and the plausible connection to extragalactic fast radio bursts. Upon the rebrightening of the magnetar at radio wavelengths in late 2018, we resumed an astrometric campaign on J1810 with the Very Long Baseline Array, and sampled 14 new positions of J1810 over 1.3 yr. The phase calibration for the new observations was performed with two-phase calibrators that are quasi-colinear on the sky with J1810, enabling substantial improvement of the resultant astrometric precision. Combining our new observations with two archival observations from 2006, we have refined the proper motion and reference position of the magnetar and have measured its annual geometric parallax, the first such measurement for a magnetar. The parallax of 0.40 ± 0.05 mas corresponds to a most probable distance $2.5^{\, +0.4}_{\, -0.3}$ kpc for J1810. Our new astrometric results confirm an unremarkable transverse peculiar velocity of ≈200 $\rm km~s^{-1}$ for J1810, which is only at the average level among the pulsar population. The magnetar propermore »motion vector points back to the central region of a supernova remnant (SNR) at a compatible distance at ≈70 kyr ago, but a direct association is disfavoured by the estimated SNR age of ∼3 kyr.« less
  6. Abstract The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) is an open access telescope dedicated to studying the low-frequency (80–300 MHz) southern sky. Since beginning operations in mid-2013, the MWA has opened a new observational window in the southern hemisphere enabling many science areas. The driving science objectives of the original design were to observe 21 cm radiation from the Epoch of Reionisation (EoR), explore the radio time domain, perform Galactic and extragalactic surveys, and monitor solar, heliospheric, and ionospheric phenomena. All together $60+$ programs recorded 20 000 h producing 146 papers to date. In 2016, the telescope underwent a major upgrade resulting in alternating compact and extended configurations. Other upgrades, including digital back-ends and a rapid-response triggering system, have been developed since the original array was commissioned. In this paper, we review the major results from the prior operation of the MWA and then discuss the new science paths enabled by the improved capabilities. We group these science opportunities by the four original science themes but also include ideas for directions outside these categories.