The LOFAR pilot surveys for pulsars and fast radio transients

Thijs Coenen, Joeri van Leeuwen, Jason W. T. Hessels, Ben W. Stappers, Vladislav I. Kondratiev, A. Alexov, R. P. Breton, A. Bilous, S. Cooper, H. Falcke, R. A. Fallows, V. Gajjar, J.-M. Grießmeier, T. E. Hassall, A. Karastergiou, E. F. Keane, M. Kramer, M. Kuniyoshi, A. Noutsos, S. OsłowskiM. Pilia, M. Serylak, C. Schrijvers, C. Sobey, S. ter Veen, J. Verbiest, P. Weltevrede, S. Wijnholds, K. Zagkouris, A. S. van Amesfoort, J. Anderson, A. Asgekar, I. M. Avruch, M. E. Bell, M. J. Bentum, G. Bernardi, P. Best, A. Bonafede, F. Breitling, J. Broderick, M. Brüggen, H. R. Butcher, B. Ciardi, A. Corstanje, A. Deller, S. Duscha, J. Eislöffel, R. Fender, C. Ferrari, W. Frieswijk, M. A. Garrett, F. de Gasperin, E. de Geus, A. W. Gunst, J. P. Hamaker, G. Heald, M. Hoeft, A. van der Horst, E. Juette, G. Kuper, C. Law, G. Mann, R. McFadden, D. McKay-Bukowski, J. P. McKean, H. Munk, E. Orru, H. Paas, M. Pandey-Pommier, A. G. Polatidis, W. Reich, A. Renting, H. Röttgering, A. Rowlinson, A. M. M. Scaife, D. Schwarz, J. Sluman, O. Smirnov, J. Swinbank, M. Tagger, Y. Tang, C. Tasse, S. Thoudam, C. Toribio, R. Vermeulen, C. Vocks, R. J. van Weeren, O. Wucknitz, P. Zarka, A. Zensus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have conducted two pilot surveys for radio pulsars and fasttransients with the Low-Frequency Array (LOFAR) around 140 MHz and herereport on the first low-frequency fast-radio burst limit and thediscovery of two new pulsars. The first survey, the LOFAR Pilot PulsarSurvey (LPPS), observed a large fraction of the northern sky, ~ 1.4× 104 deg2, with 1 h dwell times. Eachobservation covered ~75 deg2 using 7 independent fieldsformed by incoherently summing the high-band antenna fields. The secondpilot survey, the LOFAR Tied-Array Survey (LOTAS), spanned ~600deg2, with roughly a 5-fold increase in sensitivity comparedwith LPPS. Using a coherent sum of the 6 LOFAR "Superterp" stations, weformed 19 tied-array beams, together covering 4 deg2 perpointing. From LPPS we derive a limit on the occurrence, at 142 MHz, ofdispersed radio bursts of <150 day-1 sky-1,for bursts brighter than S> 107 Jy for the narrowest searched burstduration of 0.66 ms. In LPPS, we re-detected 65 previously knownpulsars. LOTAS discovered two pulsars, the first with LOFAR or anydigital aperture array. LOTAS also re-detected 27 previously knownpulsars. These pilot studies show that LOFAR can efficiently carry outall-sky surveys for pulsars and fast transients, and they set the stagefor further surveying efforts using LOFAR and the planned low-frequencycomponent of the Square Kilometer Array.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA60
Number of pages16
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2014


  • pulsars: general
  • telescopes
  • surveys
  • MHZ

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