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Morosan D.E.,Trinity College Dublin | Gallagher P.T.,Trinity College Dublin | Zucca P.,Trinity College Dublin | O'Flannagain A.,Trinity College Dublin | And 62 more authors.
Astronomy and Astrophysics | Year: 2015

The Sun is an active source of radio emission that is often associated with energetic phenomena ranging from nanoflares to coronal mass ejections (CMEs). At low radio frequencies (<100 MHz), numerous millisecond duration radio bursts have been reported, such as radio spikes or solar S bursts (where S stands for short). To date, these have neither been studied extensively nor imaged because of the instrumental limitations of previous radio telescopes. Aims. Here, LOw Frequency ARray (LOFAR) observations were used to study the spectral and spatial characteristics of a multitude of S bursts, as well as their origin and possible emission mechanisms. Methods. We used 170 simultaneous tied-array beams for spectroscopy and imaging of S bursts. Since S bursts have short timescales and fine frequency structures, high cadence (~50 ms) tied-array images were used instead of standard interferometric imaging, that is currently limited to one image per second. Results. On 9 July 2013, over 3000 S bursts were observed over a time period of ~8 h. S bursts were found to appear as groups of short-lived (<1 s) and narrow-bandwidth (~2.5 MHz) features, the majority drifting at ~3.5 MHzs-1 and a wide range of circular polarisation degrees (2-8 times more polarised than the accompanying Type III bursts). Extrapolation of the photospheric magnetic field using the potential field source surface (PFSS) model suggests that S bursts are associated with a trans-equatorial loop system that connects an active region in the southern hemisphere to a bipolar region of plage in the northern hemisphere. Conclusions. We have identified polarised, short-lived solar radio bursts that have never been imaged before. They are observed at a height and frequency range where plasma emission is the dominant emission mechanism, however, they possess some of the characteristics of electron-cyclotron maser emission. © 2015 ESO. Source


Girard J.N.,University Paris Diderot | Girard J.N.,Rhodes University | Zarka P.,CNRS Laboratory for Space Studies and Astrophysical Instrumentation | Tasse C.,University of Paris Descartes | And 83 more authors.
Astronomy and Astrophysics | Year: 2016

Context.With the limited amount of in situ particle data available for the innermost region of Jupiter's magnetosphere, Earth-based observations of the giant planets synchrotron emission remain the sole method today of scrutinizing the distribution and dynamical behavior of the ultra energetic electrons magnetically trapped around the planet. Radio observations ultimately provide key information about the origin and control parameters of the harsh radiation environment. Aims.We perform the first resolved and low-frequency imaging of the synchrotron emission with LOFAR. At a frequency as low as 127 MHz, the radiation from electrons with energies of 1-30 MeV are expected, for the first time, to be measured and mapped over a broad region of Jupiter's inner magnetosphere. Methods. Measurements consist of interferometric visibilities taken during a single 10-hour rotation of the Jovian system. These visibilities were processed in a custom pipeline developed for planetary observations, combining flagging, calibration, wide-field imaging, direction-dependent calibration, and specific visibility correction for planetary targets. We produced spectral image cubes of Jupiter's radiation belts at the various angular, temporal, and spectral resolutions from which flux densities were measured. Results. The first resolved images of Jupiter's radiation belts at 127-172 MHz are obtained with a noise level ∼20-25 mJy/beam, along with total integrated flux densities. They are compared with previous observations at higher frequencies. A greater extent of the synchrotron emission source (4 RJ) is measured in the LOFAR range, which is the signature-as at higher frequencies-of the superposition of a "pancake" and an isotropic electron distribution. Asymmetry of east-west emission peaks is measured, as well as the longitudinal dependence of the radial distance of the belts, and the presence of a hot spot at λm = 230° ± 25°. Spectral flux density measurements are on the low side of previous (unresolved) ones, suggesting a low-frequency turnover and/or time variations of the Jovian synchrotron spectrum. Conclusions. LOFAR proves to be a powerful and flexible planetary imager. In the case of Jupiter, observations at 127 MHz depict the distribution of ∼1-30 MeV energy electrons up to ∼4-5 planetary radii. The similarities of the observations at 127 MHz with those at higher frequencies reinforce the conclusion that the magnetic field morphology primarily shapes the brightness distribution features of Jupiter's synchrotron emission, as well as how the radiating electrons are likely radially and latitudinally distributed inside about 2 planetary radii. Nonetheless, the detection of an emission region that extends to larger distances than at higher frequencies, combined with the overall lower flux density, yields new information on Jupiter's electron distribution, and this information may ultimately shed light on the origin and mode of transport of these particles. © 2016 ESO. Source


Schellart P.,Radboud University Nijmegen | Trinh T.N.G.,University of Groningen | Buitink S.,Radboud University Nijmegen | Buitink S.,Vrije Universiteit Brussel | And 88 more authors.
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2015

We present measurements of radio emission from cosmic ray air showers that took place during thunderstorms. The intensity and polarization patterns of these air showers are radically different from those measured during fair-weather conditions. With the use of a simple two-layer model for the atmospheric electric field, these patterns can be well reproduced by state-of-the-art simulation codes. This in turn provides a novel way to study atmospheric electric fields. © 2015 American Physical Society. Source


Sobey C.,Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy | Sobey C.,Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy | Young N.J.,University of Witwatersrand | Young N.J.,University of Manchester | And 106 more authors.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society | Year: 2015

PSR B0823+26, a 0.53-s radio pulsar, displays a host of emission phenomena over time-scales of seconds to (at least) hours, including nulling, subpulse drifting, and mode-changing. Studying pulsars like PSR B0823+26 provides further insight into the relationship between these various emission phenomena and what they might teach us about pulsar magnetospheres. Here we report on the LOFAR (Low-Frequency Array) discovery that PSR B0823+26 has a weak and sporadically emitting 'quiet' (Q) emission mode that is over 100 times weaker (on average) and has a nulling fraction forty-times greater than that of the more regularly-emitting 'bright' (B) mode. Previously, the pulsar has been undetected in the Q mode, and was assumed to be nulling continuously. PSR B0823+26 shows a further decrease in average flux just before the transition into the B mode, and perhaps truly turns off completely at these times. Furthermore, simultaneous observations taken with the LOFAR, Westerbork, Lovell, and Effelsberg telescopes between 110 MHz and 2.7 GHz demonstrate that the transition between the Q mode and B mode occurs within one single rotation of the neutron star, and that it is concurrent across the range of frequencies observed. © 2015 The Authors. Source


Stewart A.J.,University of Oxford | Stewart A.J.,University of Southampton | Fender R.P.,University of Oxford | Fender R.P.,University of Southampton | And 132 more authors.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society | Year: 2016

We present the results of a four-month campaign searching for low-frequency radio transients near the North Celestial Pole with the Low-Frequency Array (LOFAR), as part of the Multifrequency Snapshot Sky Survey (MSSS). The data were recorded between 2011 December and 2012 April and comprised 2149 11-min snapshots, each covering 175 deg2. We have found one convincing candidate astrophysical transient, with a duration of a few minutes and a flux density at 60 MHz of 15-25 Jy. The transient does not repeat and has no obvious optical or high-energy counterpart, as a result of which its nature is unclear. The detection of this event implies a transient rate at 60 MHz of 3.9-3.7 +14.7 × 10-4 d-1 deg-2, and a transient surface density of 1.5 × 10-5 deg-2, at a 7.9-Jy limiting flux density and ~10-min time-scale. The campaign data were also searched for transients at a range of other time-scales, from 0.5 to 297 min, which allowed us to place a range of limits on transient rates at 60MHz as a function of observation duration. © 2015 The Authors. Source

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