Welcome to the new version of CaltechAUTHORS. Login is currently restricted to library staff. If you notice any issues, please email coda@library.caltech.edu
Published October 20, 2016 | Submitted + Published
Journal Article Open

The Fluence and Distance Distributions of Fast Radio Bursts


Fast radio bursts (FRB) are millisecond-duration radio pulses with apparent extragalactic origins. All but two of the FRBs have been discovered using the Parkes dish, which employs multiple beams formed by an array of feed horns on its focal plane. In this paper, we show that (i) the preponderance of multiple-beam detections and (ii) the detection rates for varying dish diameters can be used to infer the index α of the cumulative fluence distribution function (the logN–logF function: α = 1.5 for a non-evolving population in a Euclidean universe). If all detected FRBs arise from a single progenitor population, multiple-beam FRB detection rates from the Parkes telescope yield the constraint 0.52 < α < 1.0 with 90% confidence. Searches at other facilities with different dish sizes refine the constraint to 0.5 < α < 0.9. Our results favor FRB searches with smaller dishes, because for α < 1 the gain in field of view for a smaller dish is more important than the reduction in sensitivity. Further, our results suggest that (i) FRBs are not standard candles, and (ii) the distribution of distances to the detected FRBs is weighted toward larger distances. If FRBs are extragalactic, these results are consistent with a cosmological population, which would make FRBs excellent probes of the baryonic content and geometry of the universe.

Additional Information

© 2016. The American Astronomical Society. Received 2016 March 3; revised 2016 June 16; accepted 2016 June 17; published 2016 October 13. We thank Prof. Shrinivas Kulkarni for insightful discussions. We thank the CSIRO Australia Telescope National Facility for providing the engineering drawings of the 13-horn feed assembly on the Parkes telescope. H.K.V. thanks Dr. Sarah Burke-Spolaor, Dr. Paul Demorest, and Dr. Casey Law for discussions regarding the concept of splitting the VLA into subarrays. We thank Dr. Joeri van Leeuwen and the proofreaders at ApJ for (independently) pointing out an error in the ATA survey parameters in an earlier version of the manuscript.

Attached Files

Published - Vedantham_2016_ApJ_830_75.pdf

Submitted - 1606.06795.pdf


Files (1.4 MB)
Name Size Download all
618.0 kB Preview Download
828.9 kB Preview Download

Additional details

August 20, 2023
October 23, 2023