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  1. ABSTRACT

    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.

  2. ABSTRACT

    Solar radio emission at low frequencies (<1 GHz) can provide valuable information on processes driving flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs). Radio emission has been detected from active M dwarf stars, suggestive of much higher levels of activity than previously thought. Observations of active M dwarfs at low frequencies can provide information on the emission mechanism for high energy flares and possible stellar CMEs. Here, we conducted two observations with the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder Telescope totalling 26 h and scheduled to overlap with the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite Sector 36 field, utilizing the wide fields of view of both telescopes to search for multiple M dwarfs. We detected variable radio emission in Stokes I centred at 888 MHz from four known active M dwarfs. Two of these sources were also detected with Stokes V circular polarization. When examining the detected radio emission characteristics, we were not able to distinguish between the models for either electron cyclotron maser or gyrosynchrotron emission. These detections add to the growing number of M dwarfs observed with variable low-frequency emission.

  3. Abstract We report the discovery of a highly circularly polarized, variable, steep-spectrum pulsar in the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) Variables and Slow Transients (VAST) survey. The pulsar is located about 1° from the center of the Large Magellanic Cloud, and has a significant fractional circular polarization of ∼20%. We discovered pulsations with a period of 322.5 ms, dispersion measure (DM) of 157.5 pc cm −3 , and rotation measure (RM) of +456 rad m −2 using observations from the MeerKAT and the Parkes telescopes. This DM firmly places the source, PSR J0523−7125, in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). This RM is extreme compared to other pulsars in the LMC (more than twice that of the largest previously reported one). The average flux density of ∼1 mJy at 1400 MHz and ∼25 mJy at 400 MHz places it among the most luminous radio pulsars known. It likely evaded previous discovery because of its very steep radio spectrum (spectral index α ≈ −3, where S ν ∝ ν α ) and broad pulse profile (duty cycle ≳35%). We discuss implications for searches for unusual radio sources in continuum images, as well as extragalactic pulsars in the Magellanic Clouds and beyond.more »Our result highlighted the possibility of identifying pulsars, especially extreme pulsars, from radio continuum images. Future large-scale radio surveys will give us an unprecedented opportunity to discover more pulsars and potentially the most distant pulsars beyond the Magellanic Clouds.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2023
  4. 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
  5. 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 deep 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.
  6. 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 arcmin 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 plasmamore »screen, giving direct insight into the geometry of the scattering medium responsible for enhanced scintillation.« less
  7. ABSTRACT 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 »for the microphysical shock parameters of the burst: electron power-law index p = 2.84, normalized wind-density parameter A* = 3, fractional energy in electrons ϵe = 0.3, and fractional energy in magnetic fields ϵB = 0.0002.« less
  8. ABSTRACT We present results from a circular polarization survey for radio stars in the Rapid ASKAP Continuum Survey (RACS). RACS is a survey of the entire sky south of δ = +41○ being conducted with the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder telescope (ASKAP) over a 288 MHz wide band centred on 887.5 MHz. The data we analyse include Stokes I and V polarization products to an RMS sensitivity of 250 μJy PSF−1. We searched RACS for sources with fractional circular polarization above 6 per cent, and after excluding imaging artefacts, polarization leakage, and known pulsars we identified radio emission coincident with 33 known stars. These range from M-dwarfs through to magnetic, chemically peculiar A- and B-type stars. Some of these are well-known radio stars such as YZ CMi and CU Vir, but 23 have no previous radio detections. We report the flux density and derived brightness temperature of these detections and discuss the nature of the radio emission. We also discuss the implications of our results for the population statistics of radio stars in the context of future ASKAP and Square Kilometre Array surveys.