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The First Large Census of Fast Radio Burst Host Galaxies with Gemini

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Principle Investigator: Tarraneh Eftekhari, Northwestern University, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Evanston, IL, USA


Program Summary:

The discovery of the first fast radio burst (FRB) in 2007 opened a new frontier in the field of time-domain astrophysics. FRBs are bright, millisecond pulses of radio emission whose dispersed signals indicate an extragalactic origin. However, their physical origins remain a mystery, in large part due to the small number of precisely localized events and hence the lack of astrophysical context through host associations. Moreover, with only a small number of redshift measurements, their extraordinary utility as cosmological probes has not yet been realized. The era of FRB science is now poised to enter a new regime thanks to late-2023 upgrades to the CHIME/FRB experiment. Specifically, CHIME/FRB will single-handedly increase the rate of <1" FRB localizations by two orders of magnitude. Here we propose a Gemini Large and Long Program (LLP) to obtain GMOS spectroscopy of 200 FRB host galaxies discovered and localized by CHIME/FRB, 8 times larger than all known hosts collected over the past 10 years. We will (i) build the first homogeneous sample with enough statistical power to address the origins of repeating and non-repeating FRBs and model their stellar populations, (ii) extend the distribution to z>1 to place constraints on cosmological parameters, the circumgalactic medium and the cosmic web, and (iii) unveil sub-populations that diversify the host population. We expect this program to provide a gold standard catalog in the fields of transients and cosmology that will be made available for community use.



  • Wen-fai Fong: Northwestern University
  • Bridget Andersen: McGill University
  • Mohit Bhardwaj: Carnegie Mellon University
  • Tomas Cassanelli: Universidad de Chile
  • Shami Chatterjee: Cornell
  • Alice Curtin: McGill University
  • Fengqiu Dong: University of British Columbia
  • Yuxin Dong: Northwestern University
  • Emmanuel Fonseca: West Virginia University
  • Alexa Gordon: Northwestern University
  • Adaeze Ibik: University of Toronto
  • Vicky Kaspi: McGill University
  • Charlie Kilpatrick: Northwestern University
  • Adam Lanman McGill University
  • Calvin Leung: MIT
  • Dongzi Li: Caltech
  • Hsiu-Hsien Lin: CITA
  • Kiyoshi Masui: MIT
  • Alexandra Mannings: UC Santa Cruz
  • Ryan Mckinven: McGill University
  • Daniele Michilli: MIT
  • Aaron Pearlman: McGill University
  • Jason Prochaska: UC Santa Cruz
  • Masoud Rafiei-Ravandi: McGill University
  • Ketan Sand: McGill University
  • Paul Scholz: University of Toronto
  • Vishwangi Shah: McGill University
  • Kaitlyn Shin: MIT
  • Shriharsh Tendulkar: Tata Institute of Fundamental Research
  • Sunil Simha: UC Santa Cruz
  • Nicolas Tejos: Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso