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3rd of November 2021
ATNF Colloquium
Commensal searches for variable radio sources with MeerKAT
Laura Driessen (S&A, CSIRO)
Abstract: New wide-field, sensitive radio instruments are enabling us to search and investigate the dynamic radio sky like never before. Previous untargeted radio searches in the image plane have been limited by small fields of view, combining observations from mismatched surveys and instruments, and large gaps between epochs. Now instruments such the MeerKAT, ASKAP, the Karl G. Janksy VLA, LOFAR, and the MWA are uncovering large samples of dynamic radio sources without performing targeted searches. ThunderKAT is the MeerKAT large science project for searching for and investigating variable and transient radio sources in the image plane, and has already revealed exciting results on relativistic binaries, cataclysmic variables and more. A key part of ThunderKAT's goals is to perform untargeted, image-plane searches for variable and transient sources. I will present MKT J170456.2-482100, the first transient discovered with MeerKAT, and 25 new variable radio sources discovered with MeerKAT in the image-plane.

The Figure above shows the variability parameters for the light curves of 1080 unique radio sources (grey points) from 152 weekly observations of the GX339-4 field. The left panel shows the parameters for the unbinned light curves, and the right panel shows the parameters after binning the light curves with ten epochs per bin. The coloured markers show 25 new long-term variables and the black markers indicate the three previously known variable sources in the field.

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