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The first interferometric detections of fast radio bursts

Caleb, M. and Flynn, C. and Bailes, M. and Barr, E. D. and Bateman, T. and Bhandari, S. and Campbell-Wilson, D. and Farah, W. and Green, A. J. and Hunstead, R. W. and Jameson, A. and Jankowski, F. and Keane, E. F. and Parthasarathy, A. and Ravi, V. and Rosado, P. A. and van Straten, W. and Venkatraman Krishnan, V. (2017) The first interferometric detections of fast radio bursts. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 468 (3). pp. 3746-3756. ISSN 0035-8711.

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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 deg^2) 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 ≈10^4 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 × 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 F_(lim)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–logF distribution than expected for a Euclidean Universe.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Caleb, M.0000-0002-4079-4648
Bailes, M.0000-0003-3294-3081
Farah, W.0000-0002-0161-7243
Hunstead, R. W.0000-0002-3205-8288
Jankowski, F.0000-0002-6658-2811
Keane, E. F.0000-0002-4553-655X
Parthasarathy, A.0000-0002-4140-5616
Ravi, V.0000-0002-7252-5485
Venkatraman Krishnan, V.0000-0001-9518-9819
Additional Information:© 2017 The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. Accepted 2017 March 13. Received 2017 March 13; in original form 2016 November 15. Published: 16 March 2017. The authors would like to thank the referee for their insightful suggestions. We would also like to thank Jr-Wei Tsai and Liam Connor for useful discussions. The Molonglo Observatory is owned and operated by the University of Sydney with support from the School of Physics. The upgrade to the observatory has been supported by the University of Sydney through the Federation Fellowship FF0561298 and the Science Leveraging Fund of the New South Wales Department of Trade and Investment. Support for operations and continuing development of the observatory is provided by the University of Sydney, Swinburne University of Technology, the Australian Research Council Centre for All-Sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO), through project number CE110001020, and the Laureate Fellowship FL150100148. The late Professor George Collins allocated strategic funds for the purchase of the supercomputer in use at the facility from Swinburne University and was a passionate advocate for this project.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Australian Research CouncilFF0561298
Department of Trade and Investment (New South Wales)UNSPECIFIED
Australian Research CouncilCE110001020
Australian Research CouncilFL150100148
Subject Keywords:instrumentation: interferometers – methods: data analysis – surveys – intergalactic medium – radio continuum
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170623-142924308
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:M. Caleb, C. Flynn, M. Bailes, E. D. Barr, T. Bateman, S. Bhandari, D. Campbell-Wilson, W. Farah, A. J. Green, R. W. Hunstead, A. Jameson, F. Jankowski, E. F. Keane, A. Parthasarathy, V. Ravi, P. A. Rosado, W. van Straten, V. Venkatraman Krishnan; The first interferometric detections of fast radio bursts. Mon Not R Astron Soc 2017; 468 (3): 3746-3756. doi: 10.1093/mnras/stx638
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:78525
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:26 Jun 2017 20:26
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:19

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