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Introduction: For rhythm control of acute atrial flutter (AAFL) in the emergency department (ED), choices include initial drug therapy or initial electrical cardioversion (ECV). We compared the strategies of pharmacological cardioversion followed by ECV if necessary (Drug-Shock), and ECV alone (Shock Only). Methods: We conducted a randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled trial (1:1 allocation) comparing two rhythm control strategies at 11 academic EDs. We included stable adult patients with AAFL, where onset of symptoms was <48 hours. Patients underwent central web-based randomization stratified by site. The Drug-Shock group received an infusion of procainamide (15mg/kg over 30 minutes) followed 30 minutes later, if necessary, by ECV at 200 joules x 3 shocks. The Shock Only group received an infusion of saline followed, if necessary, by ECV x 3 shocks. The primary outcome was conversion to sinus rhythm for ≥30 minutes at any time following onset of infusion. Patients were followed for 14 days. The primary outcome was evaluated on an intention-to-treat basis. Statistical significance was assessed using chi-squared tests and multivariable logistic regression. Results: We randomized 76 patients, and none was lost to follow-up. The Drug-Shock (N = 33) and Shock Only (N = 43) groups were similar for all characteristics including mean age (66.3 vs 63.4 yrs), duration of AAFL (30.1 vs 24.5 hrs), previous AAFL (72.7% vs 69.8%), median CHADS2 score (1 vs 1), and mean initial heart rate (128.9 vs 126.0 bpm). The Drug-Shock and Shock only groups were similar for the primary outcome of conversion (100% vs 93%; absolute difference 7.0%, 95% CI -0.6;14.6; P = 0.25). The multivariable analyses confirmed the similarity of the two strategies (P = 0.19). In the Drug-Shock group 21.2% of patients converted with the infusion. There were no statistically significant differences for time to conversion (84.2 vs 97.6 minutes), total ED length of stay (9.4 vs 7.5 hours), disposition home (100% vs 95.3%), and stroke within 14 days (0 vs 0). Premature discontinuation of infusion (usually for transient hypotension) was more common in the Drug-Shock group (9.1% vs 0.0%) but there were no serious adverse events. Conclusion: Both the Drug-Shock and Shock Only strategies were highly effective and safe in allowing AAFL patients to go home in sinus rhythm. IV procainamide alone was effective in only one fifth of patients, much less than for acute AF.
Introduction: CAEP recently developed the acute atrial fibrillation (AF) and flutter (AFL) [AAFF] Best Practices Checklist to promote optimal care and guidance on cardioversion and rapid discharge of patients with AAFF. We sought to assess the impact of implementing the Checklist into large Canadian EDs. Methods: We conducted a pragmatic stepped-wedge cluster randomized trial in 11 large Canadian ED sites in five provinces, over 14 months. All hospitals started in the control period (usual care), and then crossed over to the intervention period in random sequence, one hospital per month. We enrolled consecutive, stable patients presenting with AAFF, where symptoms required ED management. Our intervention was informed by qualitative stakeholder interviews to identify perceived barriers and enablers for rapid discharge of AAFF patients. The many interventions included local champions, presentation of the Checklist to physicians in group sessions, an online training module, a smartphone app, and targeted audit and feedback. The primary outcome was length of stay in ED in minutes from time of arrival to time of disposition, and this was analyzed at the individual patient-level using linear mixed effects regression accounting for the stepped-wedge design. We estimated a sample size of 800 patients. Results: We enrolled 844 patients with none lost to follow-up. Those in the control (N = 316) and intervention periods (N = 528) were similar for all characteristics including mean age (61.2 vs 64.2 yrs), duration of AAFF (8.1 vs 7.7 hrs), AF (88.6% vs 82.9%), AFL (11.4% vs 17.1%), and mean initial heart rate (119.6 vs 119.9 bpm). Median lengths of stay for the control and intervention periods respectively were 413.0 vs. 354.0 minutes (P < 0.001). Comparing control to intervention, there was an increase in: use of antiarrhythmic drugs (37.4% vs 47.4%; P < 0.01), electrical cardioversion (45.1% vs 56.8%; P < 0.01), and discharge in sinus rhythm (75.3% vs. 86.7%; P < 0.001). There was a decrease in ED consultations to cardiology and medicine (49.7% vs 41.1%; P < 0.01), but a small but insignificant increase in anticoagulant prescriptions (39.6% vs 46.5%; P = 0.21). Conclusion: This multicenter implementation of the CAEP Best Practices Checklist led to a significant decrease in ED length of stay along with more ED cardioversions, fewer ED consultations, and more discharges in sinus rhythm. Widespread and rigorous adoption of the CAEP Checklist should lead to improved care of AAFF patients in all Canadian EDs.
Introduction: Acute heart failure (AHF) is a common emergency department (ED) presentation and may be associated with poor outcomes. Conversely, many patients rapidly improve with ED treatment and may not need hospital admission. Because there is little evidence to guide disposition decisions by ED and admitting physicians, we sought to create a risk score for predicting short-term serious outcomes (SSO) in patients with AHF. Methods: We conducted prospective cohort studies at 9 tertiary care hospital EDs from 2007 to 2019, and enrolled adult patients who required treatment for AHF. Each patient was assessed for standardized real-time clinical and laboratory variables, as well as for SSO (defined as death within 30 days or intubation, non-invasive ventilation (NIV), myocardial infarction, coronary bypass surgery, or new hemodialysis after admission). The fully pre-specified, logistic regression model with 13 predictors (age, pCO2, and SaO2 were modeled using spline functions with 3 knots and heart rate and creatinine with 5 knots) was fitted to the 10 multiple imputation datasets. Harrell's fast stepdown procedure reduced the number of variables. We calculated the potential impact on sensitivity (95% CI) for SSO and hospital admissions and estimated a sample size of 170 SSOs. Results: The 2,246 patients had mean age 77.4 years, male sex 54.5%, EMS arrival 41.1%, IV NTG 3.1%, ED NIV 5.2%, admission on initial visit 48.6%. Overall there were 174 (7.8%) SSOs including 70 deaths (3.1%). The final risk scale is comprised of five variables (points) and had c-statistic of 0.76 (95% CI: 0.73-0.80): 1.Valvular heart disease (1) 2.ED non-invasive ventilation (2) 3.Creatinine 150-300 (1) ≥300 (2) 4.Troponin 2x-4x URL (1) ≥5x URL (2) 5.Walk test failed (2) The probability of SSO ranged from 2.0% for a total score of 0 to 90.2% for a score of 10, showing good calibration. The model was stable over 1,000 bootstrap samples. Choosing a risk model total point admission threshold of >2 would yield a sensitivity of 80.5% (95% CI 73.9-86.1) for SSO with no change in admissions from current practice (48.6% vs 48.7%). Conclusion: Using a large prospectively collected dataset, we created a concise and sensitive risk scale to assist with admission decisions for patients with AHF in the ED. Implementation of this risk scoring scale should lead to safer and more efficient disposition decisions, with more high-risk patients being admitted and more low-risk patients being discharged.
Introduction: An important challenge physicians face when treating acute heart failure (AHF) patients in the emergency department (ED) is deciding whether to admit or discharge, with or without early follow-up. The overall goal of our project was to improve care for AHF patients seen in the ED while avoiding unnecessary hospital admissions. The specific goal was to introduce hospital rapid referral clinics to ensure AHF patients were seen within 7 days of ED discharge. Methods: This prospective before-after study was conducted at two campuses of a large tertiary care hospital, including the EDs and specialty outpatient clinics. We enrolled AHF patients ≥50 years who presented to the ED with shortness of breath (<7 days). The 12-month before (control) period was separated from the 12-month after (intervention) period by a 3-month implementation period. Implementation included creation of rapid access AHF clinics staffed by cardiology and internal medicine, and development of referral procedures. There was extensive in-servicing of all ED staff. The primary outcome measure was hospital admission at the index visit or within 30 days. Secondary outcomes included mortality and actual access to rapid follow-up. We used segmented autoregression analysis of the monthly proportions to determine whether there was a change in admissions coinciding with the introduction of the intervention and estimated a sample size of 700 patients. Results: The patients in the before period (N = 355) and the after period (N = 374) were similar for age (77.8 vs. 78.1 years), arrival by ambulance (48.7% vs 51.1%), comorbidities, current medications, and need for non-invasive ventilation (10.4% vs. 6.7%). Comparing the before to the after periods, we observed a decrease in hospital admissions on index visit (from 57.7% to 42.0%; P <0.01), as well as all admissions within 30 days (from 65.1% to 53.5% (P < 0.01). The autoregression analysis, however, demonstrated a pre-existing trend to fewer admissions and could not attribute this to the intervention (P = 0.91). Attendance at a specialty clinic, amongst those discharged increased from 17.8% to 42.1% (P < 0.01) and the median days to clinic decreased from 13 to 6 days (P < 0.01). 30-day mortality did not change (4.5% vs. 4.0%; P = 0.76). Conclusion: Implementation of rapid-access dedicated AHF clinics led to considerably increased access to specialist care, much reduced follow-up times, and possible reduction in hospital admissions. Widespread use of this approach can improve AHF care in Canada.
We present ongoing work on the spectral energy distributions (SEDs) of active galactic nuclei (AGNs), derived from X-ray, ultraviolet, optical, infrared and radio photometry and spectroscopy. Our work is motivated by new wide-field imaging surveys that will identify vast numbers of AGNs, and by the need to benchmark AGN SED fitting codes. We have constructed 41 SEDs of individual AGNs and 80 additional SEDs that mimic Seyfert spectra. All of our SEDs span 0.09 to 30μm, while some extend into the X-ray and/or radio. We have tested the utility of the SEDs by using them to generate AGN photometric redshifts, and they outperform SEDs from the prior literature, including reduced redshift errors and flux density residuals.
We have observed the G23 field of the Galaxy AndMass Assembly (GAMA) survey using the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) in its commissioning phase to validate the performance of the telescope and to characterise the detected galaxy populations. This observation covers ~48 deg2 with synthesised beam of 32.7 arcsec by 17.8 arcsec at 936MHz, and ~39 deg2 with synthesised beam of 15.8 arcsec by 12.0 arcsec at 1320MHz. At both frequencies, the root-mean-square (r.m.s.) noise is ~0.1 mJy/beam. We combine these radio observations with the GAMA galaxy data, which includes spectroscopy of galaxies that are i-band selected with a magnitude limit of 19.2. Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) infrared (IR) photometry is used to determine which galaxies host an active galactic nucleus (AGN). In properties including source counts, mass distributions, and IR versus radio luminosity relation, the ASKAP-detected radio sources behave as expected. Radio galaxies have higher stellar mass and luminosity in IR, optical, and UV than other galaxies. We apply optical and IR AGN diagnostics and find that they disagree for ~30% of the galaxies in our sample. We suggest possible causes for the disagreement. Some cases can be explained by optical extinction of the AGN, but for more than half of the cases we do not find a clear explanation. Radio sources aremore likely (~6%) to have an AGN than radio quiet galaxies (~1%), but the majority of AGN are not detected in radio at this sensitivity.
In 2013, the national surveillance case definition for West Nile virus (WNV) disease was revised to remove fever as a criterion for neuroinvasive disease and require at most subjective fever for non-neuroinvasive disease. The aims of this project were to determine how often afebrile WNV disease occurs and assess differences among patients with and without fever. We included cases with laboratory evidence of WNV disease reported from four states in 2014. We compared demographics, clinical symptoms and laboratory evidence for patients with and without fever and stratified the analysis by neuroinvasive and non-neuroinvasive presentations. Among 956 included patients, 39 (4%) had no fever; this proportion was similar among patients with and without neuroinvasive disease symptoms. For neuroinvasive and non-neuroinvasive patients, there were no differences in age, sex, or laboratory evidence between febrile and afebrile patients, but hospitalisations were more common among patients with fever (P < 0.01). The only significant difference in symptoms was for ataxia, which was more common in neuroinvasive patients without fever (P = 0.04). Only 5% of non-neuroinvasive patients did not meet the WNV case definition due to lack of fever. The evidence presented here supports the changes made to the national case definition in 2013.
We measure the cosmic star formation history out to z = 1.3 using a sample of 918 radio-selected star-forming galaxies within the 2-deg2 COSMOS field. To increase our sample size, we combine 1.4-GHz flux densities from the VLA-COSMOS catalogue with flux densities measured from the VLA-COSMOS radio continuum image at the positions of I < 26.5 galaxies, enabling us to detect 1.4-GHz sources as faint as 40 μJy. We find that radio measurements of the cosmic star formation history are highly dependent on sample completeness and models used to extrapolate the faint end of the radio luminosity function. For our preferred model of the luminosity function, we find the star formation rate density increases from 0.017 M⊙ yr−1 Mpc−3 at z ∼ 0.225 to 0.092 M⊙ yr−1 Mpc−3 at z ∼ 1.1, which agrees to within 40% of recent UV, IR and 3-GHz measurements of the cosmic star formation history.
Avian influenza virus (AIV) subtypes H5 and H7 can infect poultry causing low pathogenicity (LP) AI, but these LPAIVs may mutate to highly pathogenic AIV in chickens or turkeys causing high mortality, hence H5/H7 subtypes demand statutory intervention. Serological surveillance in the European Union provides evidence of H5/H7 AIV exposure in apparently healthy poultry. To identify the most sensitive screening method as the first step in an algorithm to provide evidence of H5/H7 AIV infection, the standard approach of H5/H7 antibody testing by haemagglutination inhibition (HI) was compared with an ELISA, which detects antibodies to all subtypes. Sera (n = 1055) from 74 commercial chicken flocks were tested by both methods. A Bayesian approach served to estimate diagnostic test sensitivities and specificities, without assuming any ‘gold standard’. Sensitivity and specificity of the ELISA was 97% and 99.8%, and for H5/H7 HI 43% and 99.8%, respectively, although H5/H7 HI sensitivity varied considerably between infected flocks. ELISA therefore provides superior sensitivity for the screening of chicken flocks as part of an algorithm, which subsequently utilises H5/H7 HI to identify infection by these two subtypes. With the calculated sensitivity and specificity, testing nine sera per flock is sufficient to detect a flock seroprevalence of 30% with 95% probability.
The discovery of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave signal has generated follow-up observations by over 50 facilities world-wide, ushering in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy. In this paper, we present follow-up observations of the gravitational wave event GW170817 and its electromagnetic counterpart SSS17a/DLT17ck (IAU label AT2017gfo) by 14 Australian telescopes and partner observatories as part of Australian-based and Australian-led research programs. We report early- to late-time multi-wavelength observations, including optical imaging and spectroscopy, mid-infrared imaging, radio imaging, and searches for fast radio bursts. Our optical spectra reveal that the transient source emission cooled from approximately 6 400 K to 2 100 K over a 7-d period and produced no significant optical emission lines. The spectral profiles, cooling rate, and photometric light curves are consistent with the expected outburst and subsequent processes of a binary neutron star merger. Star formation in the host galaxy probably ceased at least a Gyr ago, although there is evidence for a galaxy merger. Binary pulsars with short (100 Myr) decay times are therefore unlikely progenitors, but pulsars like PSR B1534+12 with its 2.7 Gyr coalescence time could produce such a merger. The displacement (~2.2 kpc) of the binary star system from the centre of the main galaxy is not unusual for stars in the host galaxy or stars originating in the merging galaxy, and therefore any constraints on the kick velocity imparted to the progenitor are poor.
The Taipan galaxy survey (hereafter simply ‘Taipan’) is a multi-object spectroscopic survey starting in 2017 that will cover 2π steradians over the southern sky (δ ≲ 10°, |b| ≳ 10°), and obtain optical spectra for about two million galaxies out to z < 0.4. Taipan will use the newly refurbished 1.2-m UK Schmidt Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory with the new TAIPAN instrument, which includes an innovative ‘Starbugs’ positioning system capable of rapidly and simultaneously deploying up to 150 spectroscopic fibres (and up to 300 with a proposed upgrade) over the 6° diameter focal plane, and a purpose-built spectrograph operating in the range from 370 to 870 nm with resolving power R ≳ 2000. The main scientific goals of Taipan are (i) to measure the distance scale of the Universe (primarily governed by the local expansion rate, H0) to 1% precision, and the growth rate of structure to 5%; (ii) to make the most extensive map yet constructed of the total mass distribution and motions in the local Universe, using peculiar velocities based on improved Fundamental Plane distances, which will enable sensitive tests of gravitational physics; and (iii) to deliver a legacy sample of low-redshift galaxies as a unique laboratory for studying galaxy evolution as a function of dark matter halo and stellar mass and environment. The final survey, which will be completed within 5 yrs, will consist of a complete magnitude-limited sample (i ⩽ 17) of about 1.2 × 106 galaxies supplemented by an extension to higher redshifts and fainter magnitudes (i ⩽ 18.1) of a luminous red galaxy sample of about 0.8 × 106 galaxies. Observations and data processing will be carried out remotely and in a fully automated way, using a purpose-built automated ‘virtual observer’ software and an automated data reduction pipeline. The Taipan survey is deliberately designed to maximise its legacy value by complementing and enhancing current and planned surveys of the southern sky at wavelengths from the optical to the radio; it will become the primary redshift and optical spectroscopic reference catalogue for the local extragalactic Universe in the southern sky for the coming decade.
In autumn 2014, enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) cases presenting with severe respiratory or neurological disease were described in countries worldwide. To describe the epidemiology and virological characteristics of EV-D68 in England, we collected clinical information on laboratory-confirmed EV-D68 cases detected in secondary care (hospitals), between September 2014 and January 2015. In primary care (general practitioners), respiratory swabs collected (September 2013–January 2015) from patients presenting with influenza-like illness were tested for EV-D68. In secondary care 55 EV-D68 cases were detected. Among those, 45 cases had clinical information available and 89% (40/45) presented with severe respiratory symptoms. Detection of EV-D68 among patients in primary care increased from 0.4% (4/1074; 95% CI 0.1–1.0) (September 2013–January 2014) to 0.8% (11/1359; 95% CI 0.4–1.5) (September 2014–January 2015). Characterization of EV-D68 strains circulating in England since 2012 and up to winter 2014/2015 indicated that those strains were genetically similar to those detected in 2014 in USA. We recommend reinforcing enterovirus surveillance through screening respiratory samples of suspected cases.
The stellar occultation technique is a powerful tool to study distant small solar system bodies. Currently, around 2 500 trans-neptunian objects (TNOs) and Centaurs are known. With the astrometry from Gaia and large surveys like the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), accurate predictions of occultation events will be available to tens of thousands of TNOs and Centaurs and boost the knowledge of the outer solar system.
In this work we present chemical abundances of heavy elements (Z>28) for a homogeneous sample of 1059 stars from HARPS planet search program. We also derive ages using parallaxes from Hipparcos and Gaia DR1 to compare the results. We study the [X/Fe] ratios for different populations and compare them with models of Galactic chemical evolution. We find that thick disk stars are chemically disjunt for Zn adn Eu. Moreover, the high-alpha metal-rich population presents an interesting behaviour, with clear overabundances of Cu and Zn and lower abundances of Y and Ba with respect to thin disk stars. Several abundance ratios present a significant correlation with age for chemically separated thin disk stars (regardless of their metallicity) but thick disk stars do not present that behaviour. Moreover, at supersolar metallicities the trends with age tend to be weaker for several elements.
The Numeniini is a tribe of 13 wader species (Scolopacidae, Charadriiformes) of which seven are Near Threatened or globally threatened, including two Critically Endangered. To help inform conservation management and policy responses, we present the results of an expert assessment of the threats that members of this taxonomic group face across migratory flyways. Most threats are increasing in intensity, particularly in non-breeding areas, where habitat loss resulting from residential and commercial development, aquaculture, mining, transport, disturbance, problematic invasive species, pollution and climate change were regarded as having the greatest detrimental impact. Fewer threats (mining, disturbance, problematic native species and climate change) were identified as widely affecting breeding areas. Numeniini populations face the greatest number of non-breeding threats in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, especially those associated with coastal reclamation; related threats were also identified across the Central and Atlantic Americas, and East Atlantic flyways. Threats on the breeding grounds were greatest in Central and Atlantic Americas, East Atlantic and West Asian flyways. Three priority actions were associated with monitoring and research: to monitor breeding population trends (which for species breeding in remote areas may best be achieved through surveys at key non-breeding sites), to deploy tracking technologies to identify migratory connectivity, and to monitor land-cover change across breeding and non-breeding areas. Two priority actions were focused on conservation and policy responses: to identify and effectively protect key non-breeding sites across all flyways (particularly in the East Asian- Australasian Flyway), and to implement successful conservation interventions at a sufficient scale across human-dominated landscapes for species’ recovery to be achieved. If implemented urgently, these measures in combination have the potential to alter the current population declines of many Numeniini species and provide a template for the conservation of other groups of threatened species.
Tannins have long been considered ‘anti-nutritional’ factors in monogastric nutrition, shown to reduce feed intake and palatability. However, recent studies revealed that compared with condensed tannins, hydrolysable tannins (HT) appear to have far less impact on growth performance, but may be inhibitory to the total activity of caecal bacteria. This in turn could reduce microbial synthesis of skatole and indole in the hindgut of entire male pigs (EM). Thus, the objective of this study was to determine the impact of a group of dietary HT on growth performance, carcass traits and boar taint compounds of group housed EM. For the study, 36 Swiss Large White boars were assigned within litter to three treatment groups. Boars were offered ad libitum one of three finisher diets supplemented with 0 (C), 15 (T15) or 30 g/kg (T30) of HT from day 105 to 165 of age. Growth performance, carcass characteristics, boar taint compounds in the adipose tissue and cytochrome P450 (CYP) isoenzymes CYP2E1, CYP1A2 and CYP2A19 gene expression in the liver was assessed. Compared with C, feed efficiency but not daily gain and daily feed intake was lower (P<0.05) in T15 and T30 boars. Except for the percentage carcass weight loss during cooling, which tended (P<0.10) to be greater in T30 than C and T15, carcass characteristics were not affected by the diets. In line with the numerically lower androstenone level, bulbourethral and salivary glands of T30 boars were lighter (P<0.05) than of T15 with intermediate values for C. Indole level was lower (P<0.05) in the adipose tissue of T30 than C pigs with intermediate levels in T15. Skatole levels tended (P<0.10) to be lower in T30 and C than T15 pigs. Hepatic gene expression of CYP isoenzymes did not differ between-treatment groups, but was negatively correlated (P<0.05) with androstenone (CYP2E1 and CYP1A2), skatole (CYP2E1, CYP2A) and indole (CYP2A) level. In line with the numerically highest androstenone and skatole concentrations, boar taint odour but not flavour was detected by the panellists in loins from T15 compared with loins from C and T30 boars. These results provide evidence that HT affected metabolism of indolic compounds and androstenone and that they affected the development of accessory sex glands. However, the effects were too small to be detected by sensory evaluation.
Brain Metastases (BM) represent a leading cause of cancer mortality. While metastatic lesions contain subclones derived from their primary lesion, their functional characterization has been limited by a paucity of preclinical models accurately recapitulating the stages of metastasis. This work describes the isolation of a unique subset of metastatic stem-like cells from primary human patient samples of BM, termed brain metastasis initiating cells (BMICs). Utilizing these BMICs we have established a novel patient-derived xenograft (PDX) model of BM that recapitulates the entire metastatic cascade, from primary tumor initiation to micro-metastasis and macro-metastasis formation in the brain. We then comprehensively interrogated human BM to identify genetic regulators of BMICs using in vitro and in vivo RNA interference screens, and validated hits using both our novel PDX model as well as primary clinical BM specimens. We identified SPOCK1 and TWIST2 as novel BMIC regulators, where in our model SPOCK1 regulated BMIC self-renewal and tumor initiation, and TWIST2 specifically regulated cell migration from lung to brain. A prospective cohort of primary lung cancer specimens was used to establish that SPOCK1 and TWIST2 were only expressed in patients who ultimately developed BM, thus establishing both clinical and functional utility for these gene products. This work offers the first comprehensive preclinical model of human brain metastasis for further characterization of therapeutic targets, identification of predictive biomarkers, and subsequent prophylactic treatment of patients most likely to develop BM. By blocking this process, metastatic lung cancer would effectively become a localized, more manageable disease.
The Dark Energy Survey is undertaking an observational programme imaging 1/4 of the southern hemisphere sky with unprecedented photometric accuracy. In the process of observing millions of faint stars and galaxies to constrain the parameters of the dark energy equation of state, the Dark Energy Survey will obtain pre-discovery images of the regions surrounding an estimated 100 gamma-ray bursts over 5 yr. Once gamma-ray bursts are detected by, e.g., the Swift satellite, the DES data will be extremely useful for follow-up observations by the transient astronomy community. We describe a recently-commissioned suite of software that listens continuously for automated notices of gamma-ray burst activity, collates information from archival DES data, and disseminates relevant data products back to the community in near-real-time. Of particular importance are the opportunities that non-public DES data provide for relative photometry of the optical counterparts of gamma-ray bursts, as well as for identifying key characteristics (e.g., photometric redshifts) of potential gamma-ray burst host galaxies. We provide the functional details of the DESAlert software, and its data products, and we show sample results from the application of DESAlert to numerous previously detected gamma-ray bursts, including the possible identification of several heretofore unknown gamma-ray burst hosts.
We describe the performance of the Boolardy Engineering Test Array, the prototype for the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder telescope. Boolardy Engineering Test Array is the first aperture synthesis radio telescope to use phased array feed technology, giving it the ability to electronically form up to nine dual-polarisation beams. We report the methods developed for forming and measuring the beams, and the adaptations that have been made to the traditional calibration and imaging procedures in order to allow BETA to function as a multi-beam aperture synthesis telescope. We describe the commissioning of the instrument and present details of Boolardy Engineering Test Array’s performance: sensitivity, beam characteristics, polarimetric properties, and image quality. We summarise the astronomical science that it has produced and draw lessons from operating Boolardy Engineering Test Array that will be relevant to the commissioning and operation of the final Australian Square Kilometre Array Path telescope.
In traditional transit timing variations (TTVs) analysis of multi-planetary systems, the individual TTVs are first derived from transit fitting and later modelled using n-body dynamic simulations to constrain planetary masses. We show that fitting simultaneously the transit light curves with the system dynamics (photo-dynamical model) increases the precision of the TTV measurements and helps constrain the system architecture. We exemplify the advantages of applying this photo-dynamical model to a multi-planetary system found in K2 data very close to 3:2 mean motion resonance, K2-19. In this case the period of the larger TTV variations (libration period) is much longer (>1.5 years) than the duration of the K2 observations (80 days). However, our method allows to detect the short period TTVs produced by the orbital conjunctions between the planets that in turn permits to uniquely characterise the system. Therefore, our method can be used to constrain the masses of near-resonant systems even when the full libration curve is not observed.