An analysis of different sub-second radio burst searches
V-FASTR – the fast transient search in radio wavelengths using the Very Long Baseline Array in North America – has the capability to potentially detect and localise mysterious milli-second timescale radio bursts from as-yet unknown locations in the Universe. Efforts by the V-FASTR team and similar experiments can now use and benefit from a sophisticated framework that accounts for the various characteristics of the bursts (e.g. luminosity, distance) and instruments (e.g. field of view, sensitivity) into account to provide analysis and interpretation of experimental results.
In a recent publication (The Astrophysical Journal 767), CAASTRO researcher Dr Cath Trott and her colleagues describe this new framework and outline its benefits for past and future experiments. One major benefit is the ability to scale results to a common standard and compare them. In their paper, they demonstrate how V-FASTR data in the 20cm band can be combined with data from the Allen Telescope Array “Fly’s Eye” fast transient survey in California. Using their new framework, the researchers were also able to analyse the system specifications of SKA Phase 1 (250-dish array, 100km baseline) and predict constraints on burst detection rates.
Looking more closely at V-FASTR’s performance in the 20cm band, the experiment settings
are not far off an expected detection of a burst event. The V-FASTR researchers are now awaiting new data with great interest.
C. M. Trott, S. J. Tingay, R. B. Wayth, D. R. Thompson, A. T. Deller, W. F. Brisken, K. L. Wagstaff, W. A. Majid, S. Burke-Spolaor, J.-P. R. Macquart, D. Palaniswamy in ApJ 767 “A framework for interpreting fast radio transients search experiments: applications to the V-FASTR experiment”