Eighth Karl W. Kamper Memorial Lecture: The radio sky at 1000 frames per second: Discovery of the Fast Radio Bursts and Millisecond Pulsars

Seven years ago Lorimer et al. (2007) reported the discovery of what appeared to be the first bona fide case of an extragalactic dispersed radio burst, with an estimated peak flux of 30 Jy. Known as the Lorimer burst, it failed to repeat but had an estimated distance of 100s of Mpc. Many years passed before the next reported burst “sighting”, as well as the discovery of the “Perytons”, dispersed pulses that appeared to share the dispersion measure of the Lorimer burst leading to considerable skepticism about the celestial nature of the Lorimer burst. Meanwhile a large-scale survey of the southern sky was being undertaken with new digital hardware designed to find Lorimer bursts and millisecond pulsars by the HITRUN collaboration (Keith et al. 2010). Originally concentrating on the galactic plane, and later migrating to the off-plane regions, the survey team announced the discovery of another 4 Lorimer bursts (now Fast Radio Bursts) in Thornton et al. (2013) and since then many more have been discovered, including one at Arecibo. I will provide a summary of the latest bursts statistics, their locations, the first to have a large multi-wavelength campaign commence within minutes of its discovery and how we are re-engineering the giant Molonglo radio telescope to find them routinely.

Cody Hall

Matthew Bailes (Swinburne University of Technology)

December 05, 2014
14:00 - 15:00