Searching for giga-Jansky fast radio bursts from the Milky Way with a global array of low-cost radio receivers

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Searching for giga-Jansky fast radio bursts from the Milky Way with a global array of low-cost radio receivers

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Title: Searching for giga-Jansky fast radio bursts from the Milky Way with a global array of low-cost radio receivers
Author: Maoz, Dan; Loeb, Abraham

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Citation: Maoz, Dan, and Abraham Loeb. 2017. “Searching for Giga-Jansky Fast Radio Bursts from the Milky Way with a Global Array of Low-Cost Radio Receivers.” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 467 (4) (February 17): 3920–3923. doi:10.1093/mnras/stx400.
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Abstract: If fast radio bursts (FRBs) originate from galaxies at cosmological distances, then their all-sky rate implies that the Milky Way may host an FRB on average once every 30-1500 years. If FRBs repeat for decades or centuies, a local FRB could be active now. A typical Galactic FRB would produce a millisecond radio pulse with ~1 GHz flux density of ~3E10 Jy, comparable to the radio flux levels and frequencies of cellular communication devices (cell phones, Wi-Fi, GPS). We propose to search for Galactic FRBs using a global array of low-cost radio receivers. One possibility is to use the ~1GHz communication channel in cellular phones through a Citizens-Science downloadable application. Participating phones would continuously listen for and record candidate FRBs and would periodically upload information to a central data processing website, which correlates the incoming data from all participants, to identify the signature of a real, globe-encompassing, FRB from an astronomical distance. Triangulation of the GPS-based pulse arrival times reported from different locations will provide the FRB sky position, potentially to arc-second accuracy. Pulse arrival times from phones operating at diverse frequencies, or from an on-device de-dispersion search, will yield the dispersion measure (DM) which will indicate the FRB source distance within the Galaxy. A variant of this approach would be to use the built-in ~100 MHz FM-radio receivers present in cell phones for an FRB search at lower frequencies. Alternatively, numerous "software-defined radio" (SDR) devices, costing ~$10 US each, could be plugged into USB ports of personal computers around the world (particularly in radio quiet regions) to establish the global network of receivers.
Published Version: doi:10.1093/mnras/stx400
Other Sources: https://arxiv.org/abs/1701.01475
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Open Access Policy Articles, as set forth at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:dash.current.terms-of-use#OAP
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:33447343
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