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    The population of radio-loud stars has to date been studied primarily through either targeted observations of a small number of highly active stars or wide-field, single-epoch surveys that cannot easily distinguish stellar emission from background extragalactic sources. As a result it has been difficult to constrain population statistics such as the surface density and fraction of the population producing radio emission in a particular variable or spectral class. In this paper, we present a sample of 36 radio stars detected in a circular polarization search of the multi-epoch Variables and Slow Transients (VAST) pilot survey with ASKAP at 887.5 MHz. Through repeat sampling of the VAST pilot survey footprint we find an upper limit to the duty cycle of M-dwarf radio bursts of $8.5 \,\rm {per\,cent}$, and that at least 10 ± 3 $\rm {per\,cent}$ of the population should produce radio bursts more luminous than $10^{15} \,\rm {erg}\mathrm{s}^{-1} \,\mathrm{Hz}^{-1}$. We infer a lower limit on the long-term surface density of such bursts in a shallow $1.25 \,\mathrm{m}\rm {Jy}\rm\ {PSF}^{-1}$ sensitivity survey of ${9}^{\, +{11}}_{-{7}}\times 10^{-3}$  $\,\deg ^{-2}$ and an instantaneous radio star surface density of 1.7 ± 0.2 × 10−3  $\,\deg ^{-2}$ on 12 min time-scales. Based on these rates we anticipate ∼200 ± 50 new radio star detections per year over the full VAST survey and ${41\, 000}^{\, +{10\, 000}}_{-{9\, 000}}$ in next-generation all-sky surveys with the Square Kilometre Array.

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  2. Abstract

    We report the discovery of a young, highly scattered pulsar in a search for highly circularly polarized radio sources as part of the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder Variables and Slow Transients survey. In follow-up observations with the Parkes radio telescope, Murriyang, we identified PSR J1032−5804 and measured a period of 78.7 ms, a dispersion measure of 819 ± 4 pc cm−3, a rotation measure of −2000 ± 1 rad m−2, and a characteristic age of 34.6 kyr. We found a pulse scattering timescale at 3 GHz of ∼22 ms, implying a timescale at 1 GHz of ∼3845 ms, which is the third most scattered pulsar known and explains its nondetection in previous pulsar surveys. We discuss the identification of a possible pulsar wind nebula and supernova remnant in the pulsar’s local environment by analyzing the pulsar spectral energy distribution and the surrounding extended emission from multiwavelength images. Our result highlights the possibility of identifying extremely scattered pulsars from radio continuum images. Ongoing and future large-scale radio continuum surveys will offer us an unprecedented opportunity to find more extreme pulsars (e.g., highly scattered, highly intermittent, and highly accelerated), which will enhance our understanding of the characteristics of pulsars and the interstellar medium.

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    Large widefield surveys make possible the serendipitous discovery of rare subclasses of pulsars. One such class are ‘spider’-type pulsar binaries, comprised of a pulsar in a compact orbit with a low-mass (sub)stellar companion. In a search for circularly polarized radio sources in Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) Pilot Survey observations, we discovered highly variable and circularly polarized emission from a radio source within the error region of the γ-ray source 4FGL J1646.5−4406. The variability is consistent with the eclipse of a compact, steep-spectrum source behind ablated material from a companion in an ∼5.3 h binary orbit. Based on the eclipse properties and spatial coincidence with 4FGL J1646.5−4406, we argue that the source is likely a recycled pulsar in a ‘redback’ binary system. Using properties of the eclipses from ASKAP and Murchison Widefield Array observations, we provide broad constraints on the properties of the eclipse medium. We identified a potential optical/infrared counterpart in archival data consistent with a variable low-mass star. Using the Parkes radio telescope ‘Murriyang’ and the Meer Karoo Array Telescope (MeerKAT) , we searched extensively for radio pulsations but yielded no viable detections of pulsed emission. We suggest that the non-detection of pulses is due to scattering in the intra-binary material, but scattering from the interstellar medium can also plausibly explain the pulse non-detections if the interstellar dispersion measure exceeds ∼600 pc cm−3. Orbital constraints derived from optical observations of the counterpart would be highly valuable for future γ-ray pulsation searches, which may confirm the source nature as a pulsar.

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    Radio transient searches using traditional variability metrics struggle to recover sources whose evolution time-scale is significantly longer than the survey cadence. Motivated by the recent observations of slowly evolving radio afterglows at gigahertz frequency, we present the results of a search for radio variables and transients using an alternative matched-filter approach. We designed our matched-filter to recover sources with radio light curves that have a high-significance fit to power-law and smoothly broken power-law functions; light curves following these functions are characteristic of synchrotron transients, including ‘orphan’ gamma-ray burst afterglows, which were the primary targets of our search. Applying this matched-filter approach to data from Variables and Slow Transients Pilot Survey conducted using the Australian SKA Pathfinder, we produced five candidates in our search. Subsequent Australia Telescope Compact Array observations and analysis revealed that: one is likely a synchrotron transient; one is likely a flaring active galactic nucleus, exhibiting a flat-to-steep spectral transition over 4 months; one is associated with a starburst galaxy, with the radio emission originating from either star formation or an underlying slowly evolving transient; and the remaining two are likely extrinsic variables caused by interstellar scintillation. The synchrotron transient, VAST J175036.1–181454, has a multifrequency light curve, peak spectral luminosity, and volumetric rate that is consistent with both an off-axis afterglow and an off-axis tidal disruption event; interpreted as an off-axis afterglow would imply an average inverse beaming factor $\langle f^{-1}_{\text{b}} \rangle = 860^{+1980}_{-710}$, or equivalently, an average jet opening angle of $\langle \theta _{\textrm {j}} \rangle = 3^{+4}_{-1}\,$ deg.

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  5. ABSTRACT We present results from a radio survey for variable and transient sources on 15-min time-scales, using the Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) pilot surveys. The pilot surveys consist of 505 h of observations conducted at around 1 GHz observing frequency, with a total sky coverage of 1476 deg2. Each observation was tracked for approximately 8 – 10 h, with a typical rms sensitivity of ∼30 μJy beam−1 and an angular resolution of ∼12 arcsec. The variability search was conducted within each 8 – 10 h observation on a 15-min time-scale. We detected 38 variable and transient sources. Seven of them are known pulsars, including an eclipsing millisecond pulsar, PSR J2039−5617. Another eight sources are stars, only one of which has been previously identified as a radio star. For the remaining 23 objects, 22 are associated with active galactic nuclei or galaxies (including the five intra-hour variables that have been reported previously), and their variations are caused by discrete, local plasma screens. The remaining source has no multiwavelength counterparts and is therefore yet to be identified. This is the first large-scale radio survey for variables and transient sources on minute time-scales at a sub-mJy sensitivity level. We expect to discover ∼1 highly variable source per day using the same technique on the full ASKAP surveys. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 22, 2024
  6. Abstract

    We present the detection of rotationally modulated, circularly polarized radio emission from the T8 brown dwarf WISE J062309.94−045624.6 between 0.9 and 2.0 GHz. We detected this high-proper-motion ultracool dwarf with the Australian SKA Pathfinder in 1.36 GHz imaging data from the Rapid ASKAP Continuum Survey. We observed WISE J062309.94−045624.6 to have a time and frequency averaged StokesIflux density of 4.17 ± 0.41 mJy beam−1, with an absolute circular polarization fraction of 66.3% ± 9.0%, and calculated a specific radio luminosity ofLν∼ 1014.8erg s−1Hz−1. In follow-up observations with the Australian Telescope Compact Array and MeerKAT we identified a multipeaked pulse structure, used dynamic spectra to place a lower limit ofB> 0.71 kG on the dwarf’s magnetic field, and measured aP= 1.912 ± 0.005 hr periodicity, which we concluded to be due to rotational modulation. The luminosity and period we measured are comparable to those of other ultracool dwarfs observed at radio wavelengths. This implies that future megahertz to gigahertz surveys, with increased cadence and improved sensitivity, are likely to detect similar or later-type dwarfs. Our detection of WISE J062309.94−045624.6 makes this dwarf the coolest and latest-type star observed to produce radio emission.

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  7. Abstract

    The deaths of massive stars are sometimes accompanied by the launch of highly relativistic and collimated jets. If the jet is pointed towards Earth, we observe a ‘prompt’ gamma-ray burst due to internal shocks or magnetic reconnection events within the jet, followed by a long-lived broadband synchrotron afterglow as the jet interacts with the circumburst material. While there is solid observational evidence that emission from multiple shocks contributes to the afterglow signature, detailed studies of the reverse shock, which travels back into the explosion ejecta, are hampered by a lack of early-time observations, particularly in the radio band. We present rapid follow-up radio observations of the exceptionally bright gamma-ray burst GRB 221009A that reveal in detail, both temporally and in frequency space, an optically thick rising component from the reverse shock. From this, we are able to constrain the size, Lorentz factor and internal energy of the outflow while providing accurate predictions for the location of the peak frequency of the reverse shock in the first few hours after the burst. These observations challenge standard gamma-ray burst models describing reverse shock emission.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2024
  8. Abstract We present a systematic search for radio counterparts of novae using the Australian Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder (ASKAP). Our search used the Rapid ASKAP Continuum Survey, which covered the entire sky south of declination $+41^{\circ}$ ( $\sim$ $34000$ square degrees) at a central frequency of 887.5 MHz, the Variables and Slow Transients Pilot Survey, which covered $\sim$ $5000$ square degrees per epoch (887.5 MHz), and other ASKAP pilot surveys, which covered $\sim$ 200–2000 square degrees with 2–12 h integration times. We crossmatched radio sources found in these surveys over a two–year period, from 2019 April to 2021 August, with 440 previously identified optical novae, and found radio counterparts for four novae: V5668 Sgr, V1369 Cen, YZ Ret, and RR Tel. Follow-up observations with the Australian Telescope Compact Array confirm the ejecta thinning across all observed bands with spectral analysis indicative of synchrotron emission in V1369 Cen and YZ Ret. Our light-curve fit with the Hubble Flow model yields a value of $1.65\pm 0.17 \times 10^{-4} \rm \:M_\odot$ for the mass ejected in V1369 Cen. We also derive a peak surface brightness temperature of $250\pm80$ K for YZ Ret. Using Hubble Flow model simulated radio lightcurves for novae, we demonstrate that with a 5 $\sigma$ sensitivity limit of 1.5 mJy in 15-min survey observations, we can detect radio emission up to a distance of 4 kpc if ejecta mass is in the range $10^{-3}\rm \:M_\odot$ , and upto 1 kpc if ejecta mass is in the range $10^{-5}$ – $10^{-3}\rm \:M_\odot$ . Our study highlights ASKAP’s ability to contribute to future radio observations for novae within a distance of 1 kpc hosted on white dwarfs with masses $0.4$ – $1.25\:\rm M_\odot$ , and within a distance of 4 kpc hosted on white dwarfs with masses $0.4$ – $1.0\:\rm M_\odot$ . 
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  9. Abstract

    We present the detection of 661 known pulsars observed with the Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) telescope at 888 MHz as part of the Rapid ASKAP Continuum Survey (RACS). Detections were made through astrometric coincidence and we estimate the false alarm rate of our sample to be ∼0.5%. Using archival data at 400 and 1400 MHz, we estimate the power-law spectral indices for the pulsars in our sample and find that the mean spectral index is −1.78 ± 0.6. However, we also find that a single power law is inadequate for modeling all the observed spectra. With the addition of flux densities between 150 MHz and 3 GHz from various imaging surveys, we find that up to 40% of our sample show deviations from a simple power-law model. Using StokesVmeasurements from the RACS data, we measured the circular polarization fraction for 9% of our sample and find that the mean polarization fraction is ∼10% (consistent between detections and upper limits). Using the dispersion-measure-derived distance, we estimate the pseudo-luminosity of the pulsars and do not find any strong evidence for a correlation with the pulsars’ intrinsic properties.

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    We present the results of a radio transient and polarization survey towards the Galactic Centre, conducted as part of the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder Variables and Slow Transients pilot survey. The survey region consisted of five fields covering $\sim 265\, {\rm deg}^2$ (350○ ≲ l ≲ 10○, |b| ≲ 10○). Each field was observed for 12 min, with between 7 and 9 repeats on cadences of between one day and four months. We detected eight highly variable sources and seven highly circularly polarized sources (14 unique sources in total). Seven of these sources are known pulsars including the rotating radio transient PSR J1739–2521 and the eclipsing pulsar PSR J1723–2837. One of them is a low-mass X-ray binary, 4U 1758–25. Three of them are coincident with optical or infrared sources and are likely to be stars. The remaining three may be related to the class of Galactic Centre Radio Transients (including a highly likely one, VAST J173608.2–321634, that has been reported previously), although this class is not yet understood. In the coming years, we expect to detect ∼40 bursts from this kind of source with the proposed 4-yr VAST survey if the distribution of the source is isotropic over the Galactic fields.

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