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  1. ABSTRACT We report on the discovery and localization of fast radio bursts (FRBs) from the MeerTRAP project, a commensal fast radio transient-detection programme at MeerKAT in South Africa. Our hybrid approach combines a coherent search with an average field-of-view (FoV) of 0.4 $\rm deg^{2}$ with an incoherent search utilizing a FoV of ∼1.27 $\rm deg^{2}$ (both at 1284 MHz). Here, we present results on the first three FRBs: FRB 20200413A (DM = 1990.05 pc cm−3), FRB 20200915A (DM = 740.65 pc cm−3), and FRB 20201123A (DM = 433.55 pc cm−3). FRB 20200413A was discovered only in the incoherent beam. FRB 20200915A (also discovered only in the incoherent beam) shows speckled emission in the dynamicmore »spectrum, which cannot be explained by interstellar scintillation in our Galaxy or plasma lensing, and might be intrinsic to the source. FRB 20201123A shows a faint post-cursor burst of about 200 ms after the main burst and warrants further follow-up to confirm whether it is a repeating FRB. FRB 20201123A also exhibits significant temporal broadening, consistent with scattering, by a turbulent medium. The broadening exceeds from what is predicted for the medium along the sightline through our Galaxy. We associate this scattering with the turbulent medium in the environment of the FRB in the host galaxy. Within the approximately 1 arcmin localization region of FRB 20201123A, we identify one luminous galaxy (r ≈ 15.67; J173438.35-504550.4) that dominates the posterior probability for a host association. The galaxy’s measured properties are consistent with other FRB hosts with secure associations.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 16, 2023
  2. Abstract We report a Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope 21 cm mapping study of the neutral atomic hydrogen (H i ) in the host galaxy of the fast radio burst (FRB) FRB 20180916B at z ≈ 0.03399. We find that the FRB host has an H i mass of M H i = (2.74 ± 0.33) × 10 9 M ⊙ and a high H i to stellar mass ratio, ≈1.3. The FRB host is thus a gas-rich but near-quiescent galaxy that is likely to have acquired a significant mass of H i in the recent past. The H i distributionmore »is disturbed, with extended H i 21 cm emission detected in a northeastern tail, a counter-tail toward the south, an H i hole between the galaxy center and the FRB location, and a high H i column density measured close to the FRB position. The FRB host is part of a group with four companions detected in their H i 21 cm emission, the nearest of which is only 22 kpc from the FRB location. The gas richness and disturbed H i distribution indicate that the FRB host has recently undergone a minor merger, which increased its H i mass, disturbed the H i in the galaxy disk, and compressed the H i near the FRB location to increase its surface density. We propose that this merger caused the burst of star formation in the outskirts of the galaxy that gave rise to the FRB progenitor. The evidence for a minor merger is consistent with scenarios in which the FRB progenitor is a massive star, formed due to the merger event.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2023
  3. ABSTRACT Fast radio bursts (FRBs) are extremely powerful sources of radio waves observed at cosmological distances. We use a sophisticated model of FRB observations – presented in detail in a companion paper – to fit FRB population parameters using large samples of FRBs detected by ASKAP and Parkes, including seven sources with confirmed host galaxies. Our fitted parameters demonstrate that the FRB population evolves with redshift in a manner consistent with, or faster than, the star formation rate (SFR), ruling out a non-evolving population at better than 98 per cent CL (depending on modelling uncertainties). Our estimated maximum FRB energy is $\logmore »_{10} E_{\rm max} [{\rm erg}] = 41.70_{-0.06}^{+0.53}$ (68 per cent CL) assuming a 1 GHz emission bandwidth, with slope of the cumulative luminosity distribution $\gamma =-1.09_{-0.10}^{+0.14}$. We find a log-mean host DM contribution of $129_{-48}^{+66}$ pc cm−3 on top of a typical local (interstellar medium and halo) contribution of ∼80 pc cm−3, which is higher than most literature values. These results are insensitive to assumptions of the FRB spectral index, and are consistent with the model of FRBs arising as the high-energy limit of magnetar bursts, but allow for FRB progenitors that evolve faster than the SFR.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 9, 2022
  4. ABSTRACT We develop a sophisticated model of fast radio burst (FRB) observations, accounting for the intrinsic cosmological gas distribution and host galaxy contributions, and give the most detailed account yet of observational biases due to burst width, dispersion measure, and the exact telescope beamshape. Our results offer a significant increase in both accuracy and precision beyond those previously obtained. Using results from ASKAP and Parkes, we present our best-fitting FRB population parameters in a companion paper. Here, we consider in detail the expected and fitted distributions in redshift, dispersion measure, and signal to noise. We estimate that the unlocalized ASKAPmore »FRBs arise from z < 0.5, with between a third and a half within z < 0.1. Our predicted source-counts (‘logN–logS’) distribution confirms previous indications of a steepening index near the Parkes detection threshold of 1 Jy ms. We find no evidence for a minimum FRB energy, and rule out Emin > 1039.0 erg at 90 per cent C.L. Importantly, we find that above a certain DM, observational biases cause the Macquart (DM–z) relation to become inverted, implying that the highest-DM events detected in the unlocalized Parkes and ASKAP samples are unlikely to be the most distant. More localized FRBs will be required to quantitatively estimate this effect, though its cause is a well-understood observational bias. Works assuming a 1–1 DM–z relation may therefore derive erroneous results. Our analysis of errors suggests that limiting factors in our analysis are understanding of FRB spectral behaviour, sensitivity response of search experiments, and the treatment of the repeating population and luminosity function.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 9, 2022
  5. Abstract We present a high-resolution analysis of the host galaxy of fast radio burst (FRB) 190608, an SB(r)c galaxy at z = 0.11778 (hereafter HG 190608), to dissect its local environment and its contributions to the FRB properties. Our Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field Camera 3 ultraviolet and visible light image reveals that the subarcsecond localization of FRB 190608 is coincident with a knot of star formation (Σ SFR = 1.5 × 10 −2 M ⊙ yr −1 kpc −2 ) in the northwest spiral arm of HG 190608. Using H β emission present in our Keck Cosmic Web Imagermore »integral field spectrum of the galaxy with a surface brightness of μ H β = ( 3.36 ± 0.21 ) × 10 − 17 erg s − 1 cm − 2 arcsec − 2 , we infer an extinction-corrected H α surface brightness and compute a dispersion measure (DM) from the interstellar medium of HG 190608 of DM Host,ISM = 94 ± 38 pc cm −3 . The galaxy rotates with a circular velocity v circ = 141 ± 8 km s −1 at an inclination i gas = 37° ± 3°, giving a dynamical mass M halo dyn ≈ 10 11.96 ± 0.08 M ⊙ . This implies a halo contribution to the DM of DM Host,Halo = 55 ± 25 pc cm −3 subject to assumptions on the density profile and fraction of baryons retained. From the galaxy rotation curve, we infer a bar-induced pattern speed of Ω p = 34 ± 6 km s −1 kpc −1 using linear resonance theory. We then calculate the maximum time since star formation for a progenitor using the furthest distance to the arm’s leading edge within the localization, and find t enc = 21 − 6 + 25 Myr. Unlike previous high-resolution studies of FRB environments, we find no evidence of disturbed morphology, emission, or kinematics for FRB 190608.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 29, 2022
  6. Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2022
  7. Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 30, 2022
  8. Context. Fast radio bursts (FRBs) are extremely energetic pulses of millisecond duration and unknown origin. To understand the phenomenon that emits these pulses, targeted and un-targeted searches have been performed for multiwavelength counterparts, including the optical. Aims. The objective of this work is to search for optical transients at the positions of eight well-localized (< 1″) FRBs after the arrival of the burst on different timescales (typically at one day, several months, and one year after FRB detection). We then compare this with known optical light curves to constrain progenitor models. Methods. We used the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescopemore »(LCOGT) network to promptly take images with its network of 23 telescopes working around the world. We used a template subtraction technique to analyze all the images collected at differing epochs. We have divided the difference images into two groups: In one group we use the image of the last epoch as a template, and in the other group we use the image of the first epoch as a template. We then searched for optical transients at the localizations of the FRBs in the template subtracted images. Results. We have found no optical transients and have therefore set limiting magnitudes to the optical counterparts. Typical limits in apparent and absolute magnitudes for our LCOGT data are ∼22 and −19 mag in the r band, respectively. We have compared our limiting magnitudes with light curves of super-luminous supernovae (SLSNe), Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia), supernovae associated with gamma-ray bursts (GRB-SNe), a kilonova, and tidal disruption events (TDEs). Conclusions. Assuming that the FRB emission coincides with the time of explosion of these transients, we rule out associations with SLSNe (at the ∼99.9% confidence level) and the brightest subtypes of SNe Ia, GRB-SNe, and TDEs (at a similar confidence level). However, we cannot exclude scenarios where FRBs are directly associated with the faintest of these subtypes or with kilonovae.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 1, 2022
  9. null (Ed.)