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  1. Abstract

    We present deep upper limits from the 2014 Murchison Widefield Array Phase I observing season, with a particular emphasis on identifying the spectral fingerprints of extremely faint radio frequency interference (RFI) contamination in the 21 cm power spectra (PS). After meticulous RFI excision involving a combination of theSSINSRFI flagger and a series of PS-based jackknife tests, our lowest upper limit on the Epoch of Reionization (EoR) 21 cm PS signal is Δ2≤ 1.61 × 104mK2atk= 0.258h Mpc−1at a redshift of 7.1 using 14.7 hr of data. By leveraging our understanding of how even fainter RFI is likely to contaminate the EoR PS, we are able to identify ultrafaint RFI signals in the cylindrical PS. Surprisingly this signature is most obvious in PS formed with less than 1 hr of data, but is potentially subdominant to other systematics in multiple-hour integrations. Since the total RFI budget in a PS detection is quite strict, this nontrivial integration behavior suggests a need to more realistically model coherently integrated ultrafaint RFI in PS measurements so that its potential contribution to a future detection can be diagnosed.

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    We investigate the contribution of extended radio sources such as Centaurus A, and Galactic supernova remnants (SNRs) to our ability to detect the statistical 21-cm signal from the Epoch of Reionisation (EoR) with the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA). These sources are typically ignored because they are in highly attenuated parts of the MWA primary beam, however, in aggregate, these sources have apparent flux densities of $10\, \rm {Jy}$ on angular scales we expect to detect the 21-cm signal. We create bespoke multicomponent 2D Gaussian models for Galactic SNRs and for Centaurus A, and simulate the visibilities for two MWA snapshot observations. We grid those visibilities and then Fourier transform them with respect to frequency, averaging them both spherically and cylindrically to produce the 1D and 2D power spectra. We compare the simulated 1D power spectra to the expected 21-$\rm {cm}$ power spectrum. We find that although these extended sources are in highly attenuated parts of the MWA primary beam pattern, collectively they have enough power (∼104−105 $\rm {mK^2}\, {\it h^{-3}} \, \rm {Mpc^{3}}$) on EoR significant modes $(|{\boldsymbol k}| \lesssim 0.1\, h\, \rm {Mpc^{-1}})$ to prohibit detection of the 21-$\rm {cm}$ signal (∼104 $\rm {mK^2}\, {\it h^{-3}} \, \rm {Mpc^{3}}$). We find that $50{-}90{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ of sources must be removed in order to reduce leakage to a level of $\sim 10{-}20{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ of the 21-$\rm {cm}$ power spectrum on EoR significant modes. The effects of wide-field extended sources will have implications on the detectability of the 21-$\rm {cm}$ signal for the MWA and with the future Square Kilometre Array (SKA).

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  3. Abstract We present a broadband radio study of the transient jets ejected from the black hole candidate X-ray binary MAXI J1535–571, which underwent a prolonged outburst beginning on 2017 September 2. We monitored MAXI J1535–571 with the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) at frequencies from 119 to 186 MHz over six epochs from 2017 September 20 to 2017 October 14. The source was quasi-simultaneously observed over the frequency range 0.84–19 GHz by UTMOST (the Upgraded Molonglo Observatory Synthesis Telescope) the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA), and the Australian Long Baseline Array (LBA). Using the LBA observations from 2017 September 23, we measured the source size to be $34\pm1$ mas. During the brightest radio flare on 2017 September 21, the source was detected down to 119 MHz by the MWA, and the radio spectrum indicates a turnover between 250 and 500 MHz, which is most likely due to synchrotron self-absorption (SSA). By fitting the radio spectrum with a SSA model and using the LBA size measurement, we determined various physical parameters of the jet knot (identified in ATCA data), including the jet opening angle ( $\phi_{\rm op} = 4.5\pm1.2^{\circ}$ ) and the magnetic field strength ( $B_{\rm s} = 104^{+80}_{-78}$ mG). Our fitted magnetic field strength agrees reasonably well with that inferred from the standard equipartition approach, suggesting the jet knot to be close to equipartition. Our study highlights the capabilities of the Australian suite of radio telescopes to jointly probe radio jets in black hole X-ray binaries via simultaneous observations over a broad frequency range, and with differing angular resolutions. This suite allows us to determine the physical properties of X-ray binary jets. Finally, our study emphasises the potential contributions that can be made by the low-frequency part of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA-Low) in the study of black hole X-ray binaries. 
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  4. null (Ed.)
  5. Abstract The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) is an electronically steered low-frequency (<300 MHz) radio interferometer, with a ‘slew’ time less than 8 s. Low-frequency (∼100 MHz) radio telescopes are ideally suited for rapid response follow-up of transients due to their large field of view, the inverted spectrum of coherent emission, and the fact that the dispersion delay between a 1 GHz and 100 MHz pulse is on the order of 1–10 min for dispersion measures of 100–2000 pc/cm 3 . The MWA has previously been used to provide fast follow-up for transient events including gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), fast radio bursts (FRBs), and gravitational waves, using systems that respond to gamma-ray coordinates network packet-based notifications. We describe a system for automatically triggering MWA observations of such events, based on Virtual Observatory Event standard triggers, which is more flexible, capable, and accurate than previous systems. The system can respond to external multi-messenger triggers, which makes it well-suited to searching for prompt coherent radio emission from GRBs, the study of FRBs and gravitational waves, single pulse studies of pulsars, and rapid follow-up of high-energy superflares from flare stars. The new triggering system has the capability to trigger observations in both the regular correlator mode (limited to ≥0.5 s integrations) and using the Voltage Capture System (VCS, 0.1 ms integration) of the MWA and represents a new mode of operation for the MWA. The upgraded standard correlator triggering capability has been in use since MWA observing semester 2018B (July–Dec 2018), and the VCS and buffered mode triggers will become available for observing in a future semester. 
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  6. 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 resulting 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. 
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