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Title: Multifrequency search & classification of the transient radio sky
Author: Stewart, Adam James
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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The radio sky can exhibit dynamic changes that provide an excellent opportunity to study the most exotic events in the Universe. In recent years the development and completion of advanced radio facilities has enabled the transient radio sky to be probed to unprecedented levels, especially at low frequencies with telescopes such as the Low-Frequency Array (LOFAR) revolutionising observations in this regime. This work primarily focuses on the detection of radio transients both at low and high frequencies. I describe the analysis of a 60 MHz LOFAR monitoring campaign centred at the North Celestial Pole, and report the discovery of the first LOFAR transient source. I also present the initial transient search of the CHILES survey that was performed with the VLA at 1.4 GHz, supported by simultaneous optical observations. Three strong transient candidates are discussed along with identifying a further 72 possible candidates. Furthermore, I investigate the relation between the radio and optical flux properties of known transient and variable sources, with the aim of developing a classification method for these types of events. I show that from just radio and optical flux measurements, it is possible to separate certain classes of objects, with additional information provided by analysing how individual classes evolve in the radio and optical parameter space over time. Lastly, I explore the future prospects of the LOFAR and CHILES transient searches, detailing what techniques could be used to further define the transient parameter space. I also discuss how the radio and optical classification method can be advanced and incorporated into automatic transient pipelines, which may be a necessity in the future Square Kilometre Array era.
Supervisor: Fender, Robert Sponsor: European Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available