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  1. Abstract

    We report the independent discovery of PSR J0026-1955 with the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) in the ongoing Southern-sky MWA Rapid Two-metre pulsar survey. J0026-1955 has a period of ∼1.306 s, a dispersion measure of ∼20.869 pc cm−3, and a nulling fraction of ∼77%. This pulsar highlights the advantages of the survey's long dwell times (∼80 minutes), which, when fully searched, will be sensitive to the expected population of similarly bright, intermittent pulsars with long nulls. A single-pulse analysis in the MWA's 140–170 MHz band also reveals a complex subpulse drifting behavior, including both rapid changes of the drift rate characteristic of mode switching pulsars, as well as a slow, consistent evolution of the drift rate within modes. In some longer drift sequences, interruptions in the otherwise smooth drift rate evolution occur preferentially at a particular phase, typically lasting a few pulses. These properties make this pulsar an ideal test bed for prevailing models of drifting behavior such as the carousel model.


    We present results from a search for the radio counterpart to the possible neutron star–black hole merger GW190814 with the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder. We have carried out 10 epochs of observation spanning 2–655 d post-merger at a frequency of 944 MHz. Each observation covered 30 deg2, corresponding to 87 per cent of the posterior distribution of the merger’s sky location. We conducted an untargeted search for radio transients in the field, as well as a targeted search for transients associated with known galaxies. We find one radio transient, ASKAP J005022.3−230349, but conclude that it is unlikely to be associated with the merger. We use our observations to place constraints on the inclination angle of the merger and the density of the surrounding environment by comparing our non-detection to model predictions for radio emission from compact binary coalescences. This survey is also the most comprehensive widefield search (in terms of sensitivity and both areal and temporal coverage) for radio transients to-date and we calculate the radio transient surface density at 944 MHz.

  3. ABSTRACT We present a low-frequency (170–200 MHz) search for prompt radio emission associated with the long GRB 210419A using the rapid-response mode of the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA), triggering observations with the Voltage Capture System for the first time. The MWA began observing GRB 210419A within 89 s of its detection by Swift, enabling us to capture any dispersion delayed signal emitted by this gamma-ray burst (GRB) for a typical range of redshifts. We conducted a standard single pulse search with a temporal and spectral resolution of $100\, \mu$s and 10 kHz over a broad range of dispersion measures from 1 to $5000\, \text{pc}\, \text{cm}^{-3}$, but none were detected. However, fluence upper limits of 77–224 Jy ms derived over a pulse width of 0.5–10 ms and a redshift of 0.6 < z < 4 are some of the most stringent at low radio frequencies. We compared these fluence limits to the GRB jet–interstellar medium interaction model, placing constraints on the fraction of magnetic energy (ϵB ≲ [0.05–0.1]). We also searched for signals during the X-ray flaring activity of GRB 210419A on minute time-scales in the image domain and found no emission, resulting in an intensity upper limit of $0.57\, \text{Jy}\, \text{beam}^{-1}$, corresponding to a constraint ofmore »ϵB ≲ 10−3. Our non-detection could imply that GRB 210419A was at a high redshift, there was not enough magnetic energy for low-frequency emission, or the radio waves did not escape from the GRB environment.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 21, 2023
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. Abstract We present the full panchromatic afterglow light-curve data of GW170817, including new radio data as well as archival optical and X-ray data, between 0.5 and 940 days post-merger. By compiling all archival data and reprocessing a subset of it, we have evaluated the impact of differences in data processing or flux determination methods used by different groups and attempted to mitigate these differences to provide a more uniform data set. Simple power-law fits to the uniform afterglow light curve indicate a t 0.86±0.04 rise, a t −1.92±0.12 decline, and a peak occurring at 155 ± 4 days. The afterglow is optically thin throughout its evolution, consistent with a single spectral index (−0.584 ± 0.002) across all epochs. This gives a precise and updated estimate of the electron power-law index, p = 2.168 ± 0.004. By studying the diffuse X-ray emission from the host galaxy, we place a conservative upper limit on the hot ionized interstellar medium density, <0.01 cm −3 , consistent with previous afterglow studies. Using the late-time afterglow data we rule out any long-lived neutron star remnant having a magnetic field strength between 10 10.4 and 10 16 G. Our fits to the afterglow data using anmore »analytical model that includes Very Long Baseline Interferometry proper motion from Mooley et al., and a structured jet model that ignores the proper motion, indicates that the proper-motion measurement needs to be considered when seeking an accurate estimate of the viewing angle.« less
  7. 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.