Kathryn Plant (Caltech): Searching for Fast Radio Burst Emission at 26-34 GHz

Seminar | December 10 | 3:10-4 p.m. | 501B Campbell Hall

 Kathryn Plant, Caltech

 Radio Astronomy Lab

I will present a project to monitor the repeating Fast Radio Burst (FRB121102) at 24-36GHz with 10.4 meter radio telescopes at the Owens Valley Radio Observatory. At the time of submitting this abstract, a detection in this band would be the highest frequency detection of any FRB so far. Daily observations with a dedicated instrument will enable a comparison of repeat rates at different frequencies. Understanding whether or not emission from FRB121102 (the only FRB known to repeat) continues to these frequencies will help answer the question of whether the emission has a magnetar-like roughly flat spectral index on average. Furthermore, since the frequency and time domain pulse structure at centimeter wavelengths will be much less strongly affected (compared to lower frequency observations) by the plasma through which the bursts travel, centimeter observations will reveal intrinsic emission features and distinguish them from propagation effects. We will conduct an automated real-time search for bursts, with daily observations from when the source rises until it sets (approximately 12 hours per day). Strategies to address the challenge of distinguishing bursts from zero-DM RFI will be presented because, at lower frequencies, a large dispersion delay is an identifying characteristic of FRBs. Across the 26-34 GHz band, however, the dispersion delay of the repeater is less than 1.5 milliseconds, requiring more care to identify bursts. An additional antenna will be available in the future, allowing interferometry.