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11th of June 2020
The host galaxies of ASKAP FRBs
by Shivani Bhandari
ASKAP is playing a pivotal role in FRB localisations, enabling the identification of their host galaxies. The Very Large Telescope (VLT) has been used to image the host galaxies of ASKAP FRBs. The four precisely localised busts came from the outskirts of their host galaxies, ruling out models involving supermassive black holes. Additional follow-up observations conducted with optical telescope such as Keck II and Gemini South established the distance to the host galaxies and studied properties such as colour magnitudes, mass, size and star formation rate. All four FRB hosts are massive galaxies, roughly the same size as the Milky Way and moderately making stars. Radio follow-up observations using the the Australia Compact Array Telescope (ATCA) and Very Large Array (VLA) studied the radio environment of these FRBs in their host galaxies and found that none were embedded in a dense radio nebula. Thus, FRBs can originate in more diverse environments than previously thought. Some earlier work suggested that most FRBs could be a by-product of a special class of exploding stars known as 'super-luminous supernovae' that are mainly found in very small 'dwarf' galaxies. This latest research shows that while one FRB (the 'repeating' FRB 121102) is known to lie in a dwarf galaxy, this is rather unusual in terms of the general FRB population. More details are given in the paper by Bhandari et al., published in Astrophysical Journal Letters. (Image credit: Sam Moorfield)

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