New methods to constrain the radio transient rate: results from a survey of four fields with LOFAR

Rene Breton, D {Carbone}, A J {van der Horst}, R A M J {Wijers}, J D {Swinbank}, A {Rowlinson}, J W {Broderick}, Y N {Cendes}, A J {Stewart}, M E {Bell}, S {Corbel}, J {Eislöffel}, R P {Fender}, J M {Grie{\ss}meier}, J W T {Hessels}, P G {Jonker}, M {Kramer}, C J {Law}, J C A {Miller-Jones}, M {Pietka}L H A {Scheers}, B W {Stappers}, J {van Leeuwen}, R {Wijnands}, P {Zarka}

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    We report on the results of a search for radio transients between 115 and 190\,MHz with the LOw Frequency ARray (LOFAR). Four different fields have been monitored with observational cadences between 15 minutes and several months. These fields have been chosen among the Medium Deep fields observed by the optical survey PanSTARRS. A total of 15 observing runs were performed giving a total survey area of 2275 deg$^2$. We analysed our data using standard LOFAR tools and searched for radio transients using the LOFAR Transient Pipeline (TraP). No credible radio transient candidate has been detected in our survey; however, it enables us to set upper limits on the surface density of radio transient sources at low radio frequencies, where little is yet known compared to frequencies above 1 GHz. To do this we used two new statistical methods. One is free of assumptions on the flux distribution of the sources, while the other assumes a power-law distribution in flux and sets more stringent constraints on the snapshot surface density. Our upper limit on the snapshot surface density of radio transients is $\rho $ 0.5 Jy. The corresponding radio transient rate is $\hat{\rho}
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalArXiv e-prints
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014

    Keywords

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

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