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  1. 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 $\logmore »_{10} E_{\rm max} [{\rm erg}] = 41.70_{-0.06}^{+0.53}$ (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.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 9, 2022
  2. 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 ASKAPmore »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 quantitatively 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
  3. 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 resultingmore »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.« less