A new population of sources emitting fast and bright transient radio bursts (FRBs) has recently been identified. Their observed high dispersion measures suggests an extragalactic origin, and accurately determining their positions and distances will provide an opportunity to study the magneto-ionic properties of the intergalactic medium. So far, FRBs have all been found using large dishes equipped with multi-pixel arrays. While these dishes are well-suited to discovering transient sources, they are poor at providing accurate localisations. A 2D snapshot image of the sky, made with a correlation interferometer array, can accurately localise many compact radio sources simultaneously. However, the required time resolution and the need to detect them in real time makes this currently impractical. In a beam-forming approach many narrow tied-array beams (TABs) are produced and the advantages of single dishes and interferometers can be combined. We present a proof-of-concept analysis of a new non-imaging method that utilises the additional spectral and comparative spatial information obtained from multiply overlapping TABs to estimate a transient source location with up to arcsecond accuracy in almost real time. We demonstrate this for a variety of interferometric configurations, that is LOFAR and MeerKAT, and show that the estimated angular position may be sufficient for identifying a host galaxy or other related object, without reference to other simultaneous or follow-up observations. In cases where the position is less accurately determined, we can still significantly reduce the area that needs to be searched for associated emission at other wavelengths and from potential host galaxies.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Pub Date:
- July 2015
- techniques: high angular resolution;
- intergalactic medium;
- Astrophysics - Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics
- 17 pages, 12 figures, accepted for publication in the Astronomy and Astrophysics journal, updated Table 1