The fast radio bursts population as observed by the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder
Wed 28 Feb, 2018 @12 PM, level 7
Dr. Ryan Shannon, Postdoctoral Fellow
Fast radio bursts (FRBs) remain one of the most exciting and confounding classes of astronomical transients. There is mounting evidence that these bright, dispersed pulses of radio emission originate at cosmological (gigaparsec) distances. Not only do the energetics of the events point to a new radiative process, but the pulses are imprinted with propagation through the ionised intergalactic medium and cosmic web, making them invaluable probes of media invisible to most other types of observations. Despite considerable effort to detect additional bursts, the yields have been low because of relatively narrow fields of view of most searches. Here I will present the discovery of 20 FRBs from a wide-area survey conducted with the Australia Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), nearly doubling the total number of known FRBs in only one year of surveying. The burst properties suggest a cosmologically evolving population with a wide luminosity function. I will then discuss future plans to develop interferometric fast transient capabilities with ASKAP, necessary to harness the full value of FRBs. To conclude, I will present the very recent discovery of two FRBs with the Parkes telescope, one of which is the highest signal-to-noise ratio burst seen to date.