The 60 pc Environment of FRB 20180916B
Journal article, 2021

Fast radio burst FRB 20180916B in its host galaxy SDSS J015800.28+654253.0 at 149 Mpc is by far the closest-known FRB with a robust host galaxy association. The source also exhibits a 16.35 day period in its bursting. Here we present optical and infrared imaging as well as integral field spectroscopy observations of FRB 20180916B with the WFC3 camera on the Hubble Space Telescope and the MEGARA spectrograph on the 10.4 m Gran Telescopio Canarias. The 60-90 milliarcsecond (mas) resolution of the Hubble imaging, along with the previous 2.3 mas localization of FRB 20180916B, allows us to probe its environment with a 30-60 pc resolution. We constrain any point-like star formation or H ii region at the location of FRB 20180916B to have an H alpha luminosity L-H alpha less than or similar to 10(37) erg s(-1), and we correspondingly constrain the local star formation rate to be less than or similar to 10(-4) M yr(-1). The constraint on H alpha suggests that possible stellar companions to FRB 20180916B should be of a cooler, less massive spectral type than O6V. FRB 20180916B is 250 pc away (in projected distance) from the brightest pixel of the nearest young stellar clump, which is similar to 380 pc in size (FWHM). With the typical projected velocities of pulsars, magnetars, or neutron stars in binaries (60-750 km s(-1)), FRB 20180916B would need 800 kyr to 7 Myr to traverse the observed distance from its presumed birth site. This timescale is inconsistent with the active ages of magnetars (less than or similar to 10 kyr). Rather, the inferred age and observed separation are compatible with the ages of high-mass X-ray binaries and gamma-ray binaries, and their separations from the nearest OB associations.

Hubble Space Telescope


High mass x-ray binary stars

Radio transient sources


Shriharsh P. Tendulkar

National Centre for Radio Astrophysics India

Tata Institute of Fundamental Research

Armando Gil de Paz

Complutense University

Aida Yu Kirichenko

Russian Academy of Sciences

Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico

Jason W. T. Hessels

Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON)

University of Amsterdam

Mohit Bhardwaj

McGill University

Fernando Avila

Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico

Cees Bassa

Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON)

Pragya Chawla

McGill University

Emmanuel Fonseca

West Virginia University

McGill University

Victoria M. Kaspi

McGill University

Aard Keimpema

Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe (JIVE)

Franz Kirsten

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Astronomy and Plasmaphysics, Extragalactic Astrophysics

T. Joseph W. Lazio

California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

Benito Marcote

Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe (JIVE)

Kiyoshi Masui

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Kenzie Nimmo

Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON)

University of Amsterdam

Zsolt Paragi

Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe (JIVE)

Mubdi Rahman

University of Toronto

Sidrat Research

Daniel Reverte Paya

Instituto Astrofisico de Canarias

Gran Telescopio Canarias (GRANTECAN)

Paul Scholz

University of Toronto

Ingrid Stairs

University of British Columbia (UBC)

Astrophysical Journal Letters

2041-8205 (ISSN) 2041-8213 (eISSN)

Vol. 908 1 L12

Subject Categories

Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology


Geosciences, Multidisciplinary



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