Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 468, 3746-3756 (2017/July-1)
The first interferometric detections of fast radio bursts.
CALEB M., FLYNN C., BAILES M., BARR E.D., BATEMAN T., BHANDARI S., CAMPBELL-WILSON D., FARAH W., GREEN A.J., HUNSTEAD R.W., JAMESON A., JANKOWSKI F., KEANE E.F., PARTHASARATHY A., RAVI V., ROSADO P.A., VAN STRATEN W. and VENKATRAMAN KRISHNAN V.
Abstract (from CDS):
We present the first interferometric detections of fast radio bursts (FRBs), an enigmatic new class of astrophysical transient. In a 180-d survey of the Southern sky, we discovered three FRBs at 843 MHz with the UTMOST array, as a part of commissioning science during a major ongoing upgrade. The wide field of view of UTMOST (≃9 deg2) is well suited to FRB searches. The primary beam is covered by 352 partially overlapping fan-beams, each of which is searched for FRBs in real time with pulse widths in the range 0.655-42 ms, and dispersion measures <=2000 pc cm–3. Detections of FRBs with the UTMOST array place a lower limit on their distances of ≃104 km (limit of the telescope near-field) supporting the case for an astronomical origin. Repeating FRBs at UTMOST or an FRB detected simultaneously with the Parkes radio telescope and UTMOST would allow a few arcsec localization, thereby providing an excellent means of identifying FRB host galaxies, if present. Up to 100 h of followup for each FRB has been carried out with the UTMOST, with no repeating bursts seen. From the detected position, we present 3σ error ellipses of 15 arcsec x 8○.4 on the sky for the point of origin for the FRBs. We estimate an all-sky FRB rate at 843 MHz above a fluence Flim of 11 Jy ms of ∼78 events sky–1 d–1 at the 95 per cent confidence level. The measured rate of FRBs at 843 MHz is two times higher than we had expected, scaling from the FRB rate at the Parkes radio telescope, assuming that FRBs have a flat spectral index and a uniform distribution in Euclidean space. We examine how this can be explained by FRBs having a steeper spectral index and/or a flatter logN-log F distribution than expected for a Euclidean Universe.
© 2017 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society
instrumentation: interferometers - methods: data analysis - surveys - intergalactic medium - radio continuum - radio continuum
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