LOFAR MSSS: Detection of a low-frequency radio transient in 400 hrs of monitoring of the North Celestial Pole

A J Stewart, R P Fender, J W Broderick, T E Hassall, T Muñoz-Darias, A Rowlinson, J D Swinbank, T D Staley, G J Molenaar, B Scheers, T L Grobler, M Pietka, G Heald, J P McKean, M E Bell, A Bonafede, Rene P Breton, D Carbone, Y Cendes, Alex ClarkeS Corbel, F de Gasperin, J Eislöffel, H Falcke, C Ferrari, J-M Grießmeier, M J Hardcastle, V Heesen, J W T Hessels, A Horneffer, M Iacobelli, P Jonker, A Karastergiou, G Kokotanekov, V I Kondratiev, M Kuniyoshi, C J Law, J van Leeuwen, S Markoff, J C A Miller-Jones, David Mulcahy, E Orru, M Pandey-Pommier, L Pratley, E Rol, H J A Röttgering, A M M Scaife, A Shulevski, C A Sobey, Benjamin Stappers, C Tasse, A J van der Horst, S van Velzen, R J van Weeren, R A M J Wijers, R Wijnands, M Wise, P Zarka, A Alexov, J Anderson, A Asgekar, I M Avruch, M J Bentum, G Bernardi, P Best, F Breitling, M Brüggen, H R Butcher, B Ciardi, J E Conway, A Corstanje, E de Geus, A Deller, S Duscha, W Frieswijk, Michael Garrett, A W Gunst, M P van Haarlem, M Hoeft, J Hörandel, E Juette, G Kuper, M Loose, P Maat, R McFadden, D McKay-Bukowski, J Moldon, H Munk, M J Norden, H Paas, A G Polatidis, D Schwarz, J Sluman, O Smirnov, M Steinmetz, S Thoudam, M C Toribio, R Vermeulen, C Vocks, S J Wijnholds, O Wucknitz, S Yatawatta

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    We present the results of a four-month campaign searching for low-frequency radio transients near the North Celestial Pole with the Low-Frequency Array (LOFAR), as part of the Multifrequency Snapshot Sky Survey (MSSS). The data were recorded between 2011 December and 2012 April and comprised 2149 11-minute snapshots, each covering 175 deg^2. We have found one convincing candidate astrophysical transient, with a duration of a few minutes and a flux density at 60 MHz of 15-25 Jy. The transient does not repeat and has no obvious optical or high-energy counterpart, as a result of which its nature is unclear. The detection of this event implies a transient rate at 60 MHz of 3.9 (+14.7, -3.7) x 10^-4 day^-1 deg^-2, and a transient surface density of 1.5 x 10^-5 deg^-2, at a 7.9-Jy limiting flux density and 10-minute time-scale. The campaign data were also searched for transients at a range of other time-scales, from 0.5 to 297 min, which allowed us to place a range of limits on transient rates at 60 MHz as a function of observation duration.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2321-2342
    JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015


    • Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena
    • Astrophysics - Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics


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