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  1. 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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  3. 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
  4. 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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    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.

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  6. null (Ed.)
    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 plasma screen, giving direct insight into the geometry of the scattering medium responsible for enhanced scintillation. 
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  7. 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. 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. 
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  8. 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 was 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. 
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