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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 Molonglo Observatory Synthesis Telescope (MOST) is an 18000 m2 radio telescope located 40 km from Canberra, Australia. Its operating band (820–851 MHz) is partly allocated to telecommunications, making radio astronomy challenging. We describe how the deployment of new digital receivers, Field Programmable Gate Array-based filterbanks, and server-class computers equipped with 43 Graphics Processing Units, has transformed the telescope into a versatile new instrument (UTMOST) for studying the radio sky on millisecond timescales. UTMOST has 10 times the bandwidth and double the field of view compared to the MOST, and voltage record and playback capability has facilitated rapid implementaton of many new observing modes, most of which operate commensally. UTMOST can simultaneously excise interference, make maps, coherently dedisperse pulsars, and perform real-time searches of coherent fan-beams for dispersed single pulses. UTMOST operates as a robotic facility, deciding how to efficiently target pulsars and how long to stay on source via real-time pulsar folding, while searching for single pulse events. Regular timing of over 300 pulsars has yielded seven pulsar glitches and three Fast Radio Bursts during commissioning. UTMOST demonstrates that if sufficient signal processing is applied to voltage streams, innovative science remains possible even in hostile radio frequency environments.
The class of radio transients called Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) encompasses enigmatic single pulses, each unique in its own way, hindering a consensus for their origin. The key to demystifying FRBs lies in discovering many of them in order to identity commonalities – and in real time, in order to find potential counterparts at other wavelengths. The recently upgraded UTMOST in Australia, is undergoing a backend transformation to rise as a fast transient detection machine. The first interferometric detections of FRBs with UTMOST, place their origin beyond the near-field region of the telescope thus ruling out local sources of interference as a possible origin. We have localised these bursts to much better than the ones discovered at the Parkes radio telescope and have plans to upgrade UTMOST to be capable of much better localisation still.
The initial results from timing observations of PSR J1141–6545, a relativistic pulsar-white dwarf binary system, are presented. Predictions from the timing baseline hint at the most stringent test of gravity by an asymmetric binary yet. The timing precision has been hindered by the dramatic variations of the pulse profile due to geodetic precession, a pulsar glitch and red timing noise. Methods to overcome such timing irregularities are briefly presented along with preliminary results from the test of the General Theory of Relativity (GR) from this pulsar.
Here, we present a catalogue of known Fast Radio Burst sources in the form of an online catalogue, FRBCAT. The catalogue includes information about the instrumentation used for the observations for each detected burst, the measured quantities from each observation, and model-dependent quantities derived from observed quantities. To aid in consistent comparisons of burst properties such as width and signal-to-noise ratios, we have re-processed all the bursts for which we have access to the raw data, with software which we make available. The originally derived properties are also listed for comparison. The catalogue is hosted online as a Mysql database which can also be downloaded in tabular or plain text format for off-line use. This database will be maintained for use by the community for studies of the Fast Radio Burst population as it grows.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with elevated risk for metabolic syndrome (MetS). However, the direction of this association is not yet established, as most prior studies employed cross-sectional designs. The primary goal of this study was to evaluate bidirectional associations between PTSD and MetS using a longitudinal design.
A total of 1355 male and female veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan underwent PTSD diagnostic assessments and their biometric profiles pertaining to MetS were extracted from the electronic medical record at two time points (spanning ~2.5 years, n = 971 at time 2).
The prevalence of MetS among veterans with PTSD was just under 40% at both time points and was significantly greater than that for veterans without PTSD; the prevalence of MetS among those with PTSD was also elevated relative to age-matched population estimates. Cross-lagged panel models revealed that PTSD severity predicted subsequent increases in MetS severity (β = 0.08, p = 0.002), after controlling for initial MetS severity, but MetS did not predict later PTSD symptoms. Logistic regression results suggested that for every 10 PTSD symptoms endorsed at time 1, the odds of a subsequent MetS diagnosis increased by 56%.
Results highlight the substantial cardiometabolic concerns of young veterans with PTSD and raise the possibility that PTSD may predispose individuals to accelerated aging, in part, manifested clinically as MetS. This demonstrates the need to identify those with PTSD at greatest risk for MetS and to develop interventions that improve both conditions.
Pulsars are potentially the most remarkable physical laboratories we will ever use. Although in many senses they are extremely clean systems there are a large number of instabilities and variabilities seen in the emission and rotation of pulsars. These need to be recognised in order to both fully understand the nature of pulsars, and to enable their use as precision tools for astrophysical investigations. Here I describe these effects, discuss the wide range of timescales involved, and consider the implications for precision pulsar timing.
In 2007, the discovery of the so-called “Lorimer Burst” was announced—a single radio pulse that was so dispersed that it could only have originated outside our Galaxy. The apparently unique event, together with the large inferred distance (a redshift z ~0.2 is required to explain its high dispersion) implies a very high luminosity. Suggested progenitors include a supernova, a binary neutron-star merger, and a black-hole annihilation event. Crude estimates of the rates of such events predict that many such bursts should already be detectable in archived pulsar-survey data, and has led to detailed searches which have had some success.