TitleSearching for MHz Transients with the VLA Low-band Ionosphere and Transient Experiment (VLITE)
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsPolisensky, E, Peters, W, Giacintucci, S, Clarke, T, Kassim, N
Conference NameAmerican Astronomical Society
Date Published1/2018

NRL and NRAO have expanded the low frequency capabilities of the VLA through the VLA Low-band Ionosphere and Transient Experiment (VLITE, http://vlite.nrao.edu/ ), effectively making the instrument two telescopes in one. VLITE is a commensal observing system that harvests data from the prime focus in parallel with normal Cassegrain focus observing on a subset of VLA antennas. VLITE provides over 6000 observing hours per year in a > 5 square degree field-of-view using 64 MHz bandwidth centered on 352 MHz. By operating in parallel, VLITE offers invaluable low frequency data to targeted observations of transient sources detected at higher frequencies. With arcsec resolution and mJy sensitivity, VLITE additionally offers great potential for blind searches of rarer radio-selected transients. We use catalog matching software on the imaging products from the daily astrophysics pipeline and the LOFAR Transients Pipeline (TraP) on repeated observations of the same fields to search for coherent and incoherent astronomical transients on timescales of a few seconds to years. We present the current status of the VLITE transient science program from its initial deployment on 10 antennas in November 2014 through its expansion to 16 antennas in the summer of 2017. Transient limits from VLITE’s first year of operation (Polisensky et al. 2016) are updated per the most recent analysis.