The millimeter transient sky is largely unexplored, with measurements limited to follow-up of objects detected at other wavelengths. High-angular-resolution telescopes, designed for measurement of the cosmic microwave background (CMB), offer the possibility to discover new, unknown transient sources in this band—particularly the afterglows of unobserved gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). Here, we use the 10 m millimeter-wave South Pole Telescope, designed for the primary purpose of observing the CMB at arcminute and larger angular scales, to conduct a search for such objects. During the 2012-2013 season, the telescope was used to continuously observe a 100 deg2 patch of sky centered at R.A. 23h30m and decl. -55° using the polarization-sensitive SPTpol camera in two bands centered at 95 and 150 GHz. These 6000 hr of observations provided continuous monitoring for day- to month-scale millimeter-wave transient sources at the 10 mJy level. One candidate object was observed with properties broadly consistent with a GRB afterglow, but at a statistical significance too low (p = 0.01) to confirm detection.
The Astrophysical Journal
- Pub Date:
- October 2016
- gamma-ray burst: general;
- Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena;
- Astrophysics - Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics
- 10 pages, 7 figures. As accepted by ApJ. Updated version expands sections 3 and 5