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The ASKAP Variables and Slow Transients (VAST) Pilot Survey

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 October 2021

Tara Murphy*
Affiliation:
Sydney Institute for Astronomy, School of Physics, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav), Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia
David L. Kaplan
Affiliation:
Department of Physics, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, P.O. Box 413, Milwaukee, WI 53201, USA
Adam J. Stewart
Affiliation:
Sydney Institute for Astronomy, School of Physics, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
Andrew O’Brien
Affiliation:
Department of Physics, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, P.O. Box 413, Milwaukee, WI 53201, USA
Emil Lenc
Affiliation:
CSIRO, Space and Astronomy, PO Box 76, Epping, NSW 1710, Australia
Sergio Pintaldi
Affiliation:
Sydney Informatics Hub, The University of Sydney, NSW 2008, Australia
Joshua Pritchard
Affiliation:
Sydney Institute for Astronomy, School of Physics, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav), Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia CSIRO, Space and Astronomy, PO Box 76, Epping, NSW 1710, Australia
Dougal Dobie
Affiliation:
ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav), Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia
Archibald Fox
Affiliation:
Sydney Institute for Astronomy, School of Physics, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
James K. Leung
Affiliation:
Sydney Institute for Astronomy, School of Physics, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav), Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia CSIRO, Space and Astronomy, PO Box 76, Epping, NSW 1710, Australia
Tao An
Affiliation:
Shanghai Astronomical Observatory, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, 80 Nandan Road, Shanghai 200030, China
Martin E. Bell
Affiliation:
University of Technology Sydney, 15 Broadway, Ultimo NSW 2007, Australia
Jess W. Broderick
Affiliation:
International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, Curtin University, GPO Box U1987, Perth, WA 6845, Australia
Shami Chatterjee
Affiliation:
Cornell Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Science, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA
Shi Dai
Affiliation:
School of Science, Western Sydney University, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith South DC, NSW 2751, Australia
Daniele d’Antonio
Affiliation:
CSIRO, Space and Astronomy, PO Box 76, Epping, NSW 1710, Australia University of Technology Sydney, 15 Broadway, Ultimo NSW 2007, Australia
Gerry Doyle
Affiliation:
Armagh Observatory and Planetarium, College Hill, Armagh, BT61 9DG, N. Ireland
B. M. Gaensler
Affiliation:
Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Toronto, 50 St. George St., Toronto, ON M5S 3H4, Canada; David A. Dunlap Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Toronto, 50 St. George St., Toronto, ON M5S 3H4, Canada
George Heald
Affiliation:
CSIRO, Space and Astronomy, PO Box 1130, Bentley WA 6102, Australia
Assaf Horesh
Affiliation:
Racah Institute of Physics, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91904, Israel
Megan L. Jones
Affiliation:
Department of Physics, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, P.O. Box 413, Milwaukee, WI 53201, USA
David McConnell
Affiliation:
CSIRO, Space and Astronomy, PO Box 76, Epping, NSW 1710, Australia
Vanessa A. Moss
Affiliation:
Sydney Institute for Astronomy, School of Physics, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia CSIRO, Space and Astronomy, PO Box 76, Epping, NSW 1710, Australia
Wasim Raja
Affiliation:
CSIRO, Space and Astronomy, PO Box 76, Epping, NSW 1710, Australia
Gavin Ramsay
Affiliation:
School of Science, Western Sydney University, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith South DC, NSW 2751, Australia
Stuart Ryder
Affiliation:
Department of Physics and Astronomy, Macquarie University, Sydney NSW 2109, Australia Astronomy, Astrophysics and Astrophotonics Research Centre, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia
Elaine M. Sadler
Affiliation:
Sydney Institute for Astronomy, School of Physics, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia CSIRO, Space and Astronomy, PO Box 76, Epping, NSW 1710, Australia
Gregory R. Sivakoff
Affiliation:
Department of Physics, University of Alberta, CCIS 4-181, Edmonton, AB T6G 2E1, Canada
Yuanming Wang
Affiliation:
Sydney Institute for Astronomy, School of Physics, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav), Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia CSIRO, Space and Astronomy, PO Box 76, Epping, NSW 1710, Australia
Ziteng Wang
Affiliation:
Sydney Institute for Astronomy, School of Physics, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav), Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia CSIRO, Space and Astronomy, PO Box 76, Epping, NSW 1710, Australia
Michael S. Wheatland
Affiliation:
Sydney Institute for Astronomy, School of Physics, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
Matthew Whiting
Affiliation:
CSIRO, Space and Astronomy, PO Box 76, Epping, NSW 1710, Australia
James R. Allison
Affiliation:
CSIRO, Space and Astronomy, PO Box 76, Epping, NSW 1710, Australia Sub-Dept. of Astrophysics, Department of Physics, University of Oxford, Denys Wilkinson Building, Keble Rd., Oxford, OX1 3RH, UK
C. S. Anderson
Affiliation:
CSIRO, Space and Astronomy, PO Box 76, Epping, NSW 1710, Australia Jansky Fellow of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, P. O. Box 0,Socorro, NM 87801, USA
Lewis Ball
Affiliation:
CSIRO, Space and Astronomy, PO Box 76, Epping, NSW 1710, Australia SKA Observatory, Jodrell Bank, Lower Withington, Macclesfield, Cheshire SK11 9FT, UK
K. Bannister
Affiliation:
CSIRO, Space and Astronomy, PO Box 76, Epping, NSW 1710, Australia
D. C.-J. Bock
Affiliation:
CSIRO, Space and Astronomy, PO Box 76, Epping, NSW 1710, Australia
R. Bolton
Affiliation:
CSIRO, Space and Astronomy, PO Box 76, Epping, NSW 1710, Australia
J. D. Bunton
Affiliation:
CSIRO, Space and Astronomy, PO Box 76, Epping, NSW 1710, Australia
R. Chekkala
Affiliation:
CSIRO, Space and Astronomy, PO Box 76, Epping, NSW 1710, Australia
A. P Chippendale
Affiliation:
CSIRO, Space and Astronomy, PO Box 76, Epping, NSW 1710, Australia
F. R. Cooray
Affiliation:
CSIRO, Space and Astronomy, PO Box 76, Epping, NSW 1710, Australia
N. Gupta
Affiliation:
Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Post Bag 4, Ganeshkhind, Pune University Campus, Pune 411 007, India
D. B. Hayman
Affiliation:
CSIRO, Space and Astronomy, PO Box 76, Epping, NSW 1710, Australia
K. Jeganathan
Affiliation:
CSIRO, Space and Astronomy, PO Box 76, Epping, NSW 1710, Australia
B. Koribalski
Affiliation:
CSIRO, Space and Astronomy, PO Box 76, Epping, NSW 1710, Australia School of Science, Western Sydney University, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith South DC, NSW 2751, Australia
K. Lee-Waddell
Affiliation:
CSIRO, Space and Astronomy, PO Box 76, Epping, NSW 1710, Australia International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Hwy, Crawley, WA, 6009, Australia
Elizabeth K. Mahony
Affiliation:
CSIRO, Space and Astronomy, PO Box 76, Epping, NSW 1710, Australia
J. Marvil
Affiliation:
National Radio Astronomy Observatory, P.O. Box O, Socorro, NM 87801, USA
N. M. McClure-Griffiths
Affiliation:
Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Australian National University, Cotter Road, Weston Creek ACT 2611, Australia
P. Mirtschin
Affiliation:
CSIRO, Space and Astronomy, PO Box 76, Epping, NSW 1710, Australia
A. Ng
Affiliation:
CSIRO, Space and Astronomy, PO Box 76, Epping, NSW 1710, Australia
S. Pearce
Affiliation:
CSIRO, Space and Astronomy, PO Box 76, Epping, NSW 1710, Australia
C. Phillips
Affiliation:
CSIRO, Space and Astronomy, PO Box 76, Epping, NSW 1710, Australia
M. A. Voronkov
Affiliation:
CSIRO, Space and Astronomy, PO Box 76, Epping, NSW 1710, Australia
*
*Author for correspondence: Tara Murphy, E-mail: tara.murphy@sydney.edu.au

Abstract

The Variables and Slow Transients Survey (VAST) on the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) is designed to detect highly variable and transient radio sources on timescales from 5 s to $\sim\!5$ yr. In this paper, we present the survey description, observation strategy and initial results from the VAST Phase I Pilot Survey. This pilot survey consists of $\sim\!162$ h of observations conducted at a central frequency of 888 MHz between 2019 August and 2020 August, with a typical rms sensitivity of $0.24\ \mathrm{mJy\ beam}^{-1}$ and angular resolution of $12-20$ arcseconds. There are 113 fields, each of which was observed for 12 min integration time, with between 5 and 13 repeats, with cadences between 1 day and 8 months. The total area of the pilot survey footprint is 5 131 square degrees, covering six distinct regions of the sky. An initial search of two of these regions, totalling 1 646 square degrees, revealed 28 highly variable and/or transient sources. Seven of these are known pulsars, including the millisecond pulsar J2039–5617. Another seven are stars, four of which have no previously reported radio detection (SCR J0533–4257, LEHPM 2-783, UCAC3 89–412162 and 2MASS J22414436–6119311). Of the remaining 14 sources, two are active galactic nuclei, six are associated with galaxies and the other six have no multi-wavelength counterparts and are yet to be identified.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Astronomical Society of Australia

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