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  1. 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 deepmore »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.« less
  2. ABSTRACT We present the results from an Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder search for radio variables on timescales of hours. We conducted an untargeted search over a 30 deg2 field, with multiple 10-h observations separated by days to months, at a central frequency of 945 MHz. We discovered six rapid scintillators from 15-min model-subtracted images with sensitivity of $\sim\! 200\, \mu$Jy/beam; two of them are extreme intra-hour variables with modulation indices up to $\sim 40{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ and timescales as short as tens of minutes. Five of the variables are in a linear arrangement on the sky with angular width ∼1 arcminmore »and length ∼2 degrees, revealing the existence of a huge plasma filament in front of them. We derived kinematic models of this plasma from the annual modulation of the scintillation rate of our sources, and we estimated its likely physical properties: a distance of ∼4 pc and length of ∼0.1 pc. The characteristics we observe for the scattering screen are incompatible with published suggestions for the origin of intra-hour variability leading us to propose a new picture in which the underlying phenomenon is a cold tidal stream. This is the first time that multiple scintillators have been detected behind the same plasma screen, giving direct insight into the geometry of the scattering medium responsible for enhanced scintillation.« less
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 30, 2022
  4. Present-day galaxies are surrounded by cool and enriched halo gas extending for hundreds of kiloparsecs. This halo gas is thought to be the dominant reservoir of material available to fuel future star formation, but direct constraints on its mass and physical properties have been difficult to obtain. We report the detection of a fast radio burst (FRB 181112), localized with arcsecond precision, that passes through the halo of a foreground galaxy. Analysis of the burst shows that the halo gas has low net magnetization and turbulence. Our results imply predominantly diffuse gas in massive galactic halos, even those hosting activemore »supermassive black holes, contrary to some previous results.« less
  5. Abstract The Variables and Slow Transients Survey (VAST) on the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) is designed to detect highly variable and transient radio sources on timescales from 5 s to $\sim\!5$ yr. In this paper, we present the survey description, observation strategy and initial results from the VAST Phase I Pilot Survey. This pilot survey consists of $\sim\!162$ h of observations conducted at a central frequency of 888 MHz between 2019 August and 2020 August, with a typical rms sensitivity of $0.24\ \mathrm{mJy\ beam}^{-1}$ and angular resolution of $12-20$ arcseconds. There are 113 fields, each of which wasmore »observed for 12 min integration time, with between 5 and 13 repeats, with cadences between 1 day and 8 months. The total area of the pilot survey footprint is 5 131 square degrees, covering six distinct regions of the sky. An initial search of two of these regions, totalling 1 646 square degrees, revealed 28 highly variable and/or transient sources. Seven of these are known pulsars, including the millisecond pulsar J2039–5617. Another seven are stars, four of which have no previously reported radio detection (SCR J0533–4257, LEHPM 2-783, UCAC3 89–412162 and 2MASS J22414436–6119311). Of the remaining 14 sources, two are active galactic nuclei, six are associated with galaxies and the other six have no multi-wavelength counterparts and are yet to be identified.« less