Limits on Fast Radio Bursts and other transient sources at 182 MHz using the Murchison Widefield Array

A. Rowlinson, M. E. Bell, T. Murphy, C. M. Trott, N. Hurley-Walker, S. Johnston, S. J. Tingay, D. L. Kaplan, D. Carbone, P. J. Hancock, L. Feng, A. R. Offringa, G. Bernardi, Judd Bowman, F. Briggs, R. J. Cappallo, A. A. Deshpande, B. M. Gaensler, L. J. Greenhill, B. J. HazeltonM. Johnston-Hollitt, C. J. Lonsdale, S. R. McWhirter, D. A. Mitchell, M. F. Morales, E. Morgan, D. Oberoi, S. M. Ord, T. Prabu, N. Udaya Shankar, K. S. Srivani, R. Subrahmanyan, R. B. Wayth, R. L. Webster, A. Williams, C. L. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


We present a survey for transient and variable sources, on time-scales from 28 s to ~1 yr, using the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) at 182 MHz. Down to a detection threshold of 0.285 Jy, no transient candidates were identified, making this the most constraining low-frequency survey to date and placing a limit on the surface density of transients of <4.1 × 10-7 deg-2 for the shortest time-scale considered. At these frequencies, emission from Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) is expected to be detectable in the shortest time-scale images without any corrections for interstellar or intergalactic dispersion. At an FRB limiting flux density of 7980 Jy, we find a rate of <82 FRBs per sky per day for dispersion measures <700 pc cm-3. Assuming a cosmological population of standard candles, our rate limits are consistent with the FRB rates obtained by Thornton et al. if they have a flat spectral slope. Finally, we conduct an initial variability survey of sources in the field with flux densities ≥ 0.5 Jy and identify no sources with significant variability in their light curves. However, we note that substantial further work is required to fully characterize both the short-term and low-level variability within this field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3506-3522
Number of pages17
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 17 2016


  • Catalogues
  • Instrumentation: Interferometers
  • Radio continuum: General
  • Techniques: Image processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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