A survey for transients and variables with the Murchison Widefield Array 32-tile prototype at 154 MHz
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Copyright © 2013 The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
We present a search for transient and variable radio sources at 154 MHz with the Murchison Widefield Array 32-tile prototype. Fifty-one images were obtained that cover a field of view of 1430 deg2 centred on Hydra A. The observations were obtained over three days in 2010 March and three days in 2011 April and May. The mean cadence of the observations was 26 minutes and there was additional temporal information on day and year timescales. We explore the variability of a sample of 105 low frequency radio sources within the field. Four bright (S > 6 Jy) candidate variable radio sources were identified that displayed low levels of short timescale variability (26 minutes). We conclude that this variability is likely caused by simplifications in the calibration strategy or ionospheric effects. On the timescale of one year we find two sources that show significant variability. We attribute this variability to either refractive scintillation or intrinsic variability. No radio transients were identified and we place an upper limit on the surface density of sources p < 7.5 × 10-5 deg-2 with flux densities > 5.5 Jy, and characteristic timescales of both 26 minutes and one year.
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