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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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  2. ABSTRACT

    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

    Radio transient searches using traditional variability metrics struggle to recover sources whose evolution time-scale is significantly longer than the survey cadence. Motivated by the recent observations of slowly evolving radio afterglows at gigahertz frequency, we present the results of a search for radio variables and transients using an alternative matched-filter approach. We designed our matched-filter to recover sources with radio light curves that have a high-significance fit to power-law and smoothly broken power-law functions; light curves following these functions are characteristic of synchrotron transients, including ‘orphan’ gamma-ray burst afterglows, which were the primary targets of our search. Applying this matched-filter approach to data from Variables and Slow Transients Pilot Survey conducted using the Australian SKA Pathfinder, we produced five candidates in our search. Subsequent Australia Telescope Compact Array observations and analysis revealed that: one is likely a synchrotron transient; one is likely a flaring active galactic nucleus, exhibiting a flat-to-steep spectral transition over 4 months; one is associated with a starburst galaxy, with the radio emission originating from either star formation or an underlying slowly evolving transient; and the remaining two are likely extrinsic variables caused by interstellar scintillation. The synchrotron transient, VAST J175036.1–181454, has a multifrequency light curve, peak spectral luminosity, and volumetric rate that is consistent with both an off-axis afterglow and an off-axis tidal disruption event; interpreted as an off-axis afterglow would imply an average inverse beaming factor $\langle f^{-1}_{\text{b}} \rangle = 860^{+1980}_{-710}$, or equivalently, an average jet opening angle of $\langle \theta _{\textrm {j}} \rangle = 3^{+4}_{-1}\,$ deg.

     
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  4. Abstract

    We present the detection of rotationally modulated, circularly polarized radio emission from the T8 brown dwarf WISE J062309.94−045624.6 between 0.9 and 2.0 GHz. We detected this high-proper-motion ultracool dwarf with the Australian SKA Pathfinder in 1.36 GHz imaging data from the Rapid ASKAP Continuum Survey. We observed WISE J062309.94−045624.6 to have a time and frequency averaged StokesIflux density of 4.17 ± 0.41 mJy beam−1, with an absolute circular polarization fraction of 66.3% ± 9.0%, and calculated a specific radio luminosity ofLν∼ 1014.8erg s−1Hz−1. In follow-up observations with the Australian Telescope Compact Array and MeerKAT we identified a multipeaked pulse structure, used dynamic spectra to place a lower limit ofB> 0.71 kG on the dwarf’s magnetic field, and measured aP= 1.912 ± 0.005 hr periodicity, which we concluded to be due to rotational modulation. The luminosity and period we measured are comparable to those of other ultracool dwarfs observed at radio wavelengths. This implies that future megahertz to gigahertz surveys, with increased cadence and improved sensitivity, are likely to detect similar or later-type dwarfs. Our detection of WISE J062309.94−045624.6 makes this dwarf the coolest and latest-type star observed to produce radio emission.

     
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  5. 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.

     
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  6. 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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    Abstract We discuss observational strategies to detect prompt bursts associated with gravitational wave (GW) events using the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP). Many theoretical models of binary neutron stars mergers predict that bright, prompt radio emission would accompany the merger. The detection of such prompt emission would greatly improve our knowledge of the physical conditions, environment, and location of the merger. However, searches for prompt emission are complicated by the relatively poor localisation for GW events, with the 90% credible region reaching hundreds or even thousands of square degrees. Operating in fly’s eye mode, the ASKAP field of view can reach $\sim1\,000$ deg $^2$ at $\sim$ $888\,{\rm MHz}$ . This potentially allows observers to cover most of the 90% credible region quickly enough to detect prompt emission. We use skymaps for GW170817 and GW190814 from LIGO/Virgo’s third observing run to simulate the probability of detecting prompt emission for GW events in the upcoming fourth observing run. With only alerts released after merger, we find it difficult to slew the telescope sufficiently quickly as to capture any prompt emission. However, with the addition of alerts released before merger by negative-latency pipelines, we find that it should be possible to search for nearby, bright prompt fast radio burst-like emission from GW events. Nonetheless, the rates are low: we would expect to observe $\sim$ 0.012 events during the fourth observing run, assuming that the prompt emission is emitted microseconds around the merger. 
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