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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 29, 2022
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023
  3. Abstract In this paper we report the first close, high-resolution observations of downward-directed terrestrial gamma-ray flashes (TGFs) detected by the large-area Telescope Array cosmic ray observatory, obtained in conjunction with broadband VHF interferometer and fast electric field change measurements of the parent discharge. The results show that the TGFs occur during strong initial breakdown pulses (IBPs) in the first few milliseconds of negative cloud-to-ground and low-altitude intracloud flashes, and that the IBPs are produced by a newly-identified streamer-based discharge process called fast negative breakdown. The observations indicate the relativistic runaway electron avalanches (RREAs) responsible for producing the TGFs are initiatedmore »by embedded spark-like transient conducting events (TCEs) within the fast streamer system, and potentially also by individual fast streamers themselves. The TCEs are inferred to be the cause of impulsive sub-pulses that are characteristic features of classic IBP sferics. Additional development of the avalanches would be facilitated by the enhanced electric field ahead of the advancing front of the fast negative breakdown. In addition to showing the nature of IBPs and their enigmatic sub-pulses, the observations also provide a possible explanation for the unsolved question of how the streamer to leader transition occurs during the initial negative breakdown, namely as a result of strong currents flowing in the final stage of successive IBPs, extending backward through both the IBP itself and the negative streamer breakdown preceding the IBP.« less
  4. Abstract We report the results of the first joint observation of the KAGRA detector with GEO 600. KAGRA is a cryogenic and underground gravitational-wave detector consisting of a laser interferometer with 3 km arms, located in Kamioka, Gifu, Japan. GEO 600 is a British–German laser interferometer with 600 m arms, located near Hannover, Germany. GEO 600 and KAGRA performed a joint observing run from April 7 to 20, 2020. We present the results of the joint analysis of the GEO–KAGRA data for transient gravitational-wave signals, including the coalescence of neutron-star binaries and generic unmodeled transients. We also perform dedicated searches for binary coalescence signals and generic transientsmore »associated with gamma-ray burst events observed during the joint run. No gravitational-wave events were identified. We evaluate the minimum detectable amplitude for various types of transient signals and the spacetime volume for which the network is sensitive to binary neutron-star coalescences. We also place lower limits on the distances to the gamma-ray bursts analyzed based on the non-detection of an associated gravitational-wave signal for several signal models, including binary coalescences. These analyses demonstrate the feasibility and utility of KAGRA as a member of the global gravitational-wave detector network.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  5. Intermediate-mass black holes (IMBHs) span the approximate mass range 100−10 5   M ⊙ , between black holes (BHs) that formed by stellar collapse and the supermassive BHs at the centers of galaxies. Mergers of IMBH binaries are the most energetic gravitational-wave sources accessible by the terrestrial detector network. Searches of the first two observing runs of Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo did not yield any significant IMBH binary signals. In the third observing run (O3), the increased network sensitivity enabled the detection of GW190521, a signal consistent with a binary merger of mass ∼150  M ⊙ providing direct evidencemore »of IMBH formation. Here, we report on a dedicated search of O3 data for further IMBH binary mergers, combining both modeled (matched filter) and model-independent search methods. We find some marginal candidates, but none are sufficiently significant to indicate detection of further IMBH mergers. We quantify the sensitivity of the individual search methods and of the combined search using a suite of IMBH binary signals obtained via numerical relativity, including the effects of spins misaligned with the binary orbital axis, and present the resulting upper limits on astrophysical merger rates. Our most stringent limit is for equal mass and aligned spin BH binary of total mass 200  M ⊙ and effective aligned spin 0.8 at 0.056 Gpc −3 yr −1 (90% confidence), a factor of 3.5 more constraining than previous LIGO-Virgo limits. We also update the estimated rate of mergers similar to GW190521 to 0.08 Gpc −3 yr −1 .« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023
  6. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2023