The LOFAR pilot surveys for pulsars and fast radio transients

Thijs Coenen, Joeri van Leeuwen, Jason W T Hessels, Benjamin W Stappers, Vladislav I Kondratiev, A Alexov, Rene P Breton, A Bilous, S Cooper, H Falcke, R A Fallows, V Gajjar, J-M Grießmeier, T E Hassall, A Karastergiou, E F Keane, M Kramer, M Kuniyoshi, A Noutsos, S OsłowskiM Pilia, M Serylak, C Schrijvers, C Sobey, S ter Veen, J Verbiest, Patrick Weltevrede, S Wijnholds, K Zagkouris, A S van Amesfoort, J Anderson, A Asgekar, I M Avruch, M E Bell, M J Bentum, G Bernardi, P Best, A Bonafede, F Breitling, J Broderick, M Brüggen, H R Butcher, B Ciardi, A Corstanje, A Deller, S Duscha, J Eislöffel, R Fender, C Ferrari, W Frieswijk, Michael Garrett, F de Gasperin, E de Geus, A W Gunst, J P Hamaker, G Heald, M Hoeft, A van der Horst, E Juette, G Kuper, C Law, G Mann, R McFadden, D McKay-Bukowski, J P McKean, H Munk, E Orru, H Paas, M Pandey-Pommier, A G Polatidis, W Reich, A Renting, H Röttgering, A Rowlinson, A M M Scaife, D Schwarz, J Sluman, O Smirnov, J Swinbank, M Tagger, Y Tang, C Tasse, S Thoudam, C Toribio, R Vermeulen, C Vocks, R J van Weeren, O Wucknitz, P Zarka, A Zensus

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    We have conducted two pilot surveys for radio pulsars and fast transients with the Low-Frequency Array (LOFAR) around 140 MHz and here report on the first low-frequency fast-radio burst limit and the discovery of two new pulsars. The first survey, the LOFAR Pilot Pulsar Survey (LPPS), observed a large fraction of the northern sky, 1.4 ?? 104 deg2, with 1 h dwell times. Each observation covered 75 deg2 using 7 independent fields formed by incoherently summing the high-band antenna fields. The second pilot survey, the LOFAR Tied-Array Survey (LOTAS), spanned 600 deg2, with roughly a 5-fold increase in sensitivity compared with LPPS. Using a coherent sum of the 6 LOFAR "Superterp" stations, we formed 19 tied-array beams, together covering 4 deg2 per pointing. From LPPS we derive a limit on the occurrence, at 142 MHz, of dispersed radio bursts of <150 day-1 sky-1, for bursts brighter than S> 107 Jy for the narrowest searched burst duration of 0.66 ms. In LPPS, we re-detected 65 previously known pulsars. LOTAS discovered two pulsars, the first with LOFAR or any digital aperture array. LOTAS also re-detected 27 previously known pulsars. These pilot studies show that LOFAR can efficiently carry out all-sky surveys for pulsars and fast transients, and they set the stage for further surveying efforts using LOFAR and the planned low-frequency component of the Square Kilometer Array.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014


    • pulsars: general
    • telescopes
    • surveys


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