Skip to main content Accessibility help

In situ measurement of MWA primary beam variation using ORBCOMM

  • J. L. B. Line (a1) (a2), B. McKinley (a2) (a3), J. Rasti (a1) (a2), M. Bhardwaj (a1) (a2), R. B. Wayth (a2) (a3), R. L. Webster (a1) (a2), D. Ung (a3), D. Emrich (a3), L. Horsley (a3), A. Beardsley (a4), B. Crosse (a3), T. M. O. Franzen (a3), B. M. Gaensler (a2) (a5) (a6), M. Johnston-Hollitt (a3), D. L. Kaplan (a7), D. Kenney (a3), M. F. Morales (a8), D. Pallot (a9), K. Steele (a3), S. J. Tingay (a2) (a3), C. M. Trott (a2) (a3), M. Walker (a3), A. Williams (a3) and C. Wu (a9)...


We provide the first in situ measurements of antenna element beam shapes of the Murchison Widefield Array. Most current processing pipelines use an assumed beam shape, which can cause absolute and relative flux density errors and polarisation ‘leakage’. Understanding the primary beam is then of paramount importance, especially for sensitive experiments such as a measurement of the 21-cm line from the epoch of reionisation, where the calibration requirements are so extreme that tile to tile beam variations may affect our ability to make a detection. Measuring the primary beam shape from visibilities is challenging, as multiple instrumental, atmospheric, and astrophysical factors contribute to uncertainties in the data. Building on the methods of Neben et al. [Radio Sci., 50, 614], we tap directly into the receiving elements of the telescope before any digitisation or correlation of the signal. Using ORBCOMM satellite passes we are able to produce all-sky maps for four separate tiles in the XX polarisation. We find good agreement with the beam model of Sokolowski et al. [2017, PASA, 34, e062], and clearly observe the effects of a missing dipole from a tile in one of our beam maps. We end by motivating and outlining additional on-site experiments.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: J. L. B. Line, Email:


Hide All
Barry, N., Hazelton, B., Sullivan, I., Morales, M. F., & Pober, J. C. 2016, MNRAS, 461, 1
Chang, C., Monstein, C., Refregier, A., Amara, A., Glauser, A., & Casura, S. 2015, PASP, 127, 1131
Gorski, K. M., Hivon, E., Banday, A. J., Wandelt, B. D., Hansen, F. K., Reinecke, M., & Bartelmann, M. 2005, ApJ, 622, 759
Hurley-Walker, N., et al. 2017, MNRAS, 464, 1146
Jacobs, D. C., et al. 2016, ApJ, 825, 114
Jacobs, D. C., et al. 2017, PASP, 129, 1
Kazemi, S., Yatawatta, S., & Zaroubi, S. 2013, MNRAS, 430, 1457
Lenc, E., et al. 2016, ApJ, 830, 38
Lenc, E., et al. 2017, PASA, 34, e040
Mitchell, D. A., Greenhill, L. J., Wayth, R. B., Sault, R. J., Lonsdale, C. J., Cappallo, R. J., Morales, M. F., & Ord, S. M. 2008, IEEE J. Sel. Top. Signal Process., 2, 707
Neben, A. R., et al. 2015, Radio Sci., 50, 614
Neben, A. R., et al. 2016, ApJ, 826, 199
Ord, S. M., et al. 2010, PASP, 1353
Paonessa, F., et al. 2016, in 2016 IEEE Metrol. Aerosp. (MetroAeroSpace), 87
Picar, A. M., Marqué, C., Anciaux, M., & Lamy, H. 2015, in Proc. Int. Meteor Conf., 177
Pupillo, G., et al. 2015, ExA, 39, 405
Sokolowski, M., et al. 2017, PASA, 34, e062
Sullivan, I. S., et al. 2012, ApJ, 759, 17
Sutinjo, A., O’sullivan, J., Lenc, E., Wayth, R. B., Padhi, S., Hall, P., & Tingay, S. J. 2015, Radio Sci., 50, 52
Tasse, C., van der Tol, S., van Zwieten, J., van Diepen, G., & Bhatnagar, S. 2013, A&A, 553, A105
Tingay, S. J. J., et al. 2013, PASA, 30, e007
Trott, C. M., & Wayth, R. B. 2016, PASA, 33, e019
Ustuner, F., Aydemir, E., Gulec, E., Ilarslan, M., Celebi, M., & Demirel, E. 2014, in 2014 XXXIth URSI Gen. Assembly Sci. Symp. (URSI GASS), 1
Wayth, R. B., et al. 2015, PASA, 32, e025
Wayth, R. B., et al., 2018, PASA, 35
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia
  • ISSN: 1323-3580
  • EISSN: 1448-6083
  • URL: /core/journals/publications-of-the-astronomical-society-of-australia
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed