FRB Newsletter Issue 09 — May 2020

Total FRB count: 122
Repeaters: 21

From the editors:

The news this month has been dominated by the burst of activity related to the Galactic magnetar SGR 1935+2154. The detection of radio bursts from the source suggests a link between magnetars and (possibly some subset of) the extragalactic FRB phenomenon. While most of the observational results are yet to be published, we summarize the relevant rapid communications and the theoretical interpretations that have been put forward so far. We hope you enjoy this unusually busy issue of the newsletter during these trying times.

A burst of activity from SGR 1935+2154

  • On 27 April, 2020 a "forest of X-ray bursts" was detected from the Galactic soft gamma repeater SGR 1935+2154 by the Swift BAT (ATel 13675), NICER (ATel 13678), and AGILE (ATel 13682). This activity was quickly followed up by Swift monitoring (ATel 13679).
  • On 28 April, 2020 a bright millisecond radio burst was detected from this source by both the CHIME telescope (ATel 13681) and by STARE2 (ATel 13684), with a DM of ~333 pc/cc and estimated radio fluences of a few kJy ms (CHIME, 400-800 MHz) and 1.5 MJy ms (STARE2, 1.4 GHz).
    • Bochenek et al. (ATel 13684) state that if "... the source were placed at the distance of FRB 180916.J0158+65 (149 Mpc), the fluence of this burst would be >7 mJy ms. We conclude that active magnetars are a source of FRBs at extragalactic distances."
    • The double-peaked CHIME dynamic spectrum is available to view.
    • Two preprints reporting on this radio burst have just been released; see below.
  • An X-ray flare temporally coincident with the CHIME/STARE2 radio burst was reported by INTEGRAL (ATel 13685), AGILE (ATel 13686), Insight-HXMT (ATel 13687, ATel 13692, ATel 13696, ATel 13704), and Konus-Wind (ATel 13688).
  • Upper limits on persistent radio emission have been established with the VLA (ATel 13690, ATel 13693), and searches for radio pulses with commensal realfast observations at the VLA, FAST at 1.25 GHz (ATel 13697), LOFAR at 150 MHz (ATel 13707), the Deep Space Network at 2.3 GHz and 8.4 GHz (ATel 13713), and Northern Cross at 408 MHz (ATel 13739) reported non-detections. A coordinated search for radio pulses at 1.4 GHz and 4.7 GHz with the Westerbork, Onsala, and Torun radio telescopes placed direct limits on radio pulses at the time of observed X-ray bursts (ATel 13735).
  • On 30 April, 2020 a second, fainter (60 mJy ms) radio burst was detected by the FAST telescope (ATel 13699), found to be up to 90% linearly polarized with a rotation measure of +112.3 rad m^-2 (spectrum and polarization plots in ATel). Coincident X-ray upper limits were reported from Insight-HXMT (ATel 13703).
  • Upper limits on contemporaneous neutrino signatures were reported by IceCube (ATel 13689) and ANTARES (ATel 13721).
  • SRG/eROSITA observations show steady X-ray emission from the source on 23-24 April, before the reported X-ray bursts (ATel 13723).
  • A catalog of X-ray burst times from Swift/BAT is now available (ATel 13748).
  • Archival Arecibo radio telescope observations (ATel 13726) following a 2019 X-ray flare showed no radio pulses as bright as the current detections.
Associated preprints
  • A Bright Millisecond-duration Radio Burst from a Galactic Magnetar; The CHIME/FRB Collaboration, arXiv: 2005.10324
  • A Fast Radio Burst Associated with a Galactic Magnetar; Bochenek et al., arXiv: 2005.10828
  • INTEGRAL Discovery of a Burst Associated with Radio Emission from the Magnetar SGR 1935+2154; Mereghetti et al., arXiv: 2005.06335
  • Fast Radio Bursts from Reconnection Events in Magnetar Magnetospheres; Lyutikov & Popov, arXiv: 2005.05093
  • Implications of a "Fast Radio Burst" from a Galactic Magnetar; Margalit et al., arXiv: 2005.05283
  • A Unified Picture of Galactic and Cosmological Fast Radio Bursts; Lu, Kumar & Zhang, arXiv: 2005.06736
  • Revisiting the Distance, Environment and Supernova Properties of SNR G57.2+08 that Hosts SGR 1935+2154; Ping Zhou et al., arXiv: 2005.03517
Other papers of interest

Observational Results
  • A Fast Radio Burst Discovered in FAST Drift Scan Survey; Weiwei Zhu et al., arXiv: 2004.14029
  • Is GRB 110715A the Progenitor of FRB 171209?; Xiang-Gao Wang et al., arXiv: 2004.12050
  • Electron Density Structure of the Local Galactic Disk; Ocker, Cordes & Chatterjee, arXiv: 2004.11921
  • A Comparative Study of Host Galaxy Properties Between Fast Radio Bursts and Stellar Transients; Ye Li & Bing Zhang, arXiv: 2005.02371
  • Zwicky Transient Factory Constraints on the Optical Emission from the Nearby Repeating FRB 180916.J0158+65; Andreoni et al., arXiv: 2005.06273
  • Bright X-ray and Radio Pulses from a Recently Reactivated Magnetar; Pearlman et al., arXiv: 2005.08410

    "We find that the radio pulses from XTE J1810-197 share similar characteristics to radio bursts detected from fast radio burst (FRB) sources, some of which are now thought to be produced by active magnetars."

Theory and Modeling
  • The Multiwavelength Counterparts of Fast Radio Bursts; Chen, Ravi & Lu, arXiv: 2004.10787
  • A Geometrical Explanation for Repeating Fast Radio Bursts; Shuang Du & Renxin Xu, arXiv: 2004.11223
  • Reconstruction of Reionization History through Dispersion Measure of Fast Radio Bursts; Ji-Ping Dai & Jun-Qing Xia, arXiv: 2004.11276
  • Persistent Radio Emission from Synchrotron Heating by a Repeating Fast Radio Burst Source in a Nebula; Qiao-Chu Li, Yuan-Pei Yang, & Zi-Gao Dai, arXiv: 2004.12516
  • A New Method to Measure Hubble Parameter H(z) Using Fast Radio Bursts; Q. Wu, Hai Yu, & F. Y. Wang, arXiv: 2004.12649
  • Cosmology with Gravitationally Lensed Fast Radio Bursts; Wucknitz, Spitler & Pen, arXiv: 2004.11643
  • Weak equivalence principle, swampland and H0 tension with fast single radio bursts FRB 180924 and FRB 190523; Deng Wang, Zhaozhou Li, Jiajun Zhang, arXiv: 1907.02838
  • Cosmology-insensitive estimate of IGM baryon mass fraction from five localized fast radio bursts; Zhengxiang Li et al., arXiv: 2004.08393
  • On the Magnetospheric Origin of Repeating Fast Radio Bursts; Wei-Yang Wang et al., arXiv: 2005.02100
  • Repeating Fast Radio Bursts Caused by Small Bodies Orbiting a Pulsar or Magnetar; Mottez, Zarka, & Voisin, arXiv: 2002.12834
  • A Data-Driven Technique Using Millisecond Transients to Measure the Milky Way Halo; Platts, Prochaska, & Law, arXiv: 2005.06256
  • Constraining Dark Photon Dark Matter with Fast Radio Bursts; Landim, arXiv: 2005.08621
  • Detectability of Radio Afterglows from Fast Radio Bursts Produced by Binary Neutron Star Mergers; Haoxiang Lin & Tomonori Totani, arXiv: 2005.08112
  • Shock within a Shock: revisiting the radio flares of NS merger ejecta and GRB-supernovae; Margalit & Piran, arXiv: 2004.13028
  • Quark-Novae in the Outskirts of Galaxies: An Explanation of the Fast Radio Burst Phenomenon; Ouyed, Leahy & Koning, arXiv: 2005.09793
Algorithms and Instrumentation
  • Gamma-ray Urgent Archiver for Novel Opportunities (GUANO): Swift/BAT Event Data Dumps on Demand to Enable Sensitive Sub-threshold GRB Searches; Tohuvavohu et al., arXiv: 2005.01751

    "This pipeline has been successfully run in its complete form since early 2020, and has resulted in the recovery of BAT event data for >700 externally triggered events to date (GWs, neutrinos, GRBs triggered by other facilities, FRBs)"

  • A GPU Spatial Processing System for CHIME; Denman et al., arXiv: 2005.09481
From the Astronomer's Telegram
  • FRB 200508 was found at UTMOST in real-time using an automated GPU-accelerated/machine learning-based pipeline, with a DM of 629 pc/cc and a fluence of ~29.7 Jy-ms (ATel 13715).
Upcoming meetings and conferences

FRB2020: The in-person conference has been cancelled and will instead be held remotely during the week of 6 July, 2020. The talk schedule will be significantly abridged and there will be sessions over multiple time zones. If you were originally scheduled for a talk at this meeting, please update your talk details at the following link. A registration link for the virtual meeting will be forthcoming.

Compact Objects and Energetic Phenomena in the Multi-Messenger Era: This meeting has been converted to a fully-virtual mini-conference on 14-15 July 2020. The agenda and (free) registration is available at this event page.

We appreciate that many conferences are going virtual this year, making them accessible to a wider audience. If you would like to advertise your upcoming meeting in the FRB Newsletter, please let us know!

Do you have an item for future newsletters? Please send these via email to the editors (Emily and Shami) to be included in an upcoming issue.