Limits on the ultra-bright Fast Radio Burst population from the CHIME Pathfinder [HEAP]

We present results from a new incoherent-beam Fast Radio Burst (FRB) search on the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) Pathfinder. Its large instantaneous field of view (FoV) and relative thermal insensitivity allow us to probe the ultra-bright tail of the FRB distribution, and to test a recent claim that this distribution’s slope, $\alpha\equiv-\frac{\partial \log N}{\partial \log S}$, is quite small. A 256-input incoherent beamformer was deployed on the CHIME Pathfinder for this purpose. If the FRB distribution were described by a single power-law with $\alpha=0.7$, we would expect an FRB detection every few days, making this the fastest survey on sky at present. We collected 1268 hours of data, amounting to one of the largest exposures of any FRB survey, with over 2.4\,$\times$\,10$^5$\,deg$^2$\,hrs. Having seen no bursts, we have constrained the rate of extremely bright events to $<\!13$\,sky$^{-1}$\,day$^{-1}$ above $\sim$\,220$\sqrt{(\tau/\rm ms)}$ Jy\,ms for $\tau$ between 1.3 and 100\,ms, at 400–800\,MHz. The non-detection also allows us to rule out $\alpha\lesssim0.9$ with 95$\%$ confidence, after marginalizing over uncertainties in the GBT rate at 700–900\,MHz, though we show that for a cosmological population and a large dynamic range in flux density, $\alpha$ is brightness-dependent. Since FRBs now extend to large enough distances that non-Euclidean effects are significant, there is still expected to be a dearth of faint events and relative excess of bright events. Nevertheless we have constrained the allowed number of ultra-intense FRBs. While this does not have significant implications for deeper, large-FoV surveys like full CHIME and APERTIF, it does have important consequences for other wide-field, small dish experiments.

Read this paper on arXiv…

Scientific. Collaboration-CHIME, M. Amiri, K. Bandura, et. al.
Tue, 28 Feb 17

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