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The graphics processing unit has become an integral part of astronomical instrumentation, enabling high-performance online data reduction and accelerated online signal processing. In this paper, we describe a wide-band reconfigurable spectrometer built using an off-the-shelf graphics processing unit card. This spectrometer, when configured as a polyphase filter bank, supports a dual-polarisation bandwidth of up to 1.1 GHz (or a single-polarisation bandwidth of up to 2.2 GHz) on the latest generation of graphics processing units. On the other hand, when configured as a direct fast Fourier transform, the spectrometer supports a dual-polarisation bandwidth of up to 1.4 GHz (or a single-polarisation bandwidth of up to 2.8 GHz).
We present the results of an approximately 6 100 deg2 104–196 MHz radio sky survey performed with the Murchison Widefield Array during instrument commissioning between 2012 September and 2012 December: the MWACS. The data were taken as meridian drift scans with two different 32-antenna sub-arrays that were available during the commissioning period. The survey covers approximately 20.5 h < RA < 8.5 h, − 58° < Dec < −14°over three frequency bands centred on 119, 150 and 180 MHz, with image resolutions of 6–3 arcmin. The catalogue has 3 arcmin angular resolution and a typical noise level of 40 mJy beam− 1, with reduced sensitivity near the field boundaries and bright sources. We describe the data reduction strategy, based upon mosaicked snapshots, flux density calibration, and source-finding method. We present a catalogue of flux density and spectral index measurements for 14 110 sources, extracted from the mosaic, 1 247 of which are sub-components of complexes of sources.
Significant new opportunities for astrophysics and cosmology have been identified at low radio frequencies. The Murchison Widefield Array is the first telescope in the southern hemisphere designed specifically to explore the low-frequency astronomical sky between 80 and 300 MHz with arcminute angular resolution and high survey efficiency. The telescope will enable new advances along four key science themes, including searching for redshifted 21-cm emission from the EoR in the early Universe; Galactic and extragalactic all-sky southern hemisphere surveys; time-domain astrophysics; and solar, heliospheric, and ionospheric science and space weather. The Murchison Widefield Array is located in Western Australia at the site of the planned Square Kilometre Array (SKA) low-band telescope and is the only low-frequency SKA precursor facility. In this paper, we review the performance properties of the Murchison Widefield Array and describe its primary scientific objectives.
The discovery of a pulsar or pulsars orbiting near the Galactic Center (GC) could offer an unprecedented probe of strong-field gravity, the properties of our galaxy's supermassive black hole and insights into the paradoxical star formation history of the region. However, searching for pulsars near the GC is severely hampered by the large electron densities along our line of sight and the scattering-induced pulse broadening of the pulsar emission observed through it. As the broadened pulse length approaches the pulsar period, the periodicity in pulsar emission becomes nearly undetectable. Searches extended to higher frequencies, in an effort to reduce scattering, suffer from reduced intrinsic flux, higher system temperatures and increased atmospheric opacity. We are currently attempting to mitigate the challenges associated with searching for pulsars near the GC by employing new wide bandwidth receivers, upgraded IF distribution systems and novel digital spectrometers in a GC pulsar search campaign at the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia, USA.
Our search will cover two frequency bands, from 12-15 GHz (Ku Band) and 18-26 GHz (K Band), during a total of approximately 30 hours of observations, with expected characteristic 10-sigma sensitivities between 5-10 micro-Jy. Our first observations are scheduled for mid-March 2012. Here we will present the status of our observations and initial results.
The far-ultra violet (6 – 13.6 eV) photons from the OB stars in Ultra-compact HII regions (UCHs) produce photo-dissociation regions (PDRs) at the interface between the ionized and the natal molecular material. In this paper, we show that carbon recombination lines (CRLs) at frequencies greater than a few GHz are detectable from these PDRs and such observations can be used to: (1) estimate the physical properties of the PDR material; (2) study the kinematics of the PDR material relative to the HII region gas; (3) constrain the magnetic fields in the vicinity of UCHs and (4) address the lifetime problem of UCHs.
A complete survey of radio recombination lines (RRLs) near 327 MHz from the galactic plane (l = 330° − 0°-89°, b = 0°) was carried out using a section of the Ooty Radio Telescope (ORT) with an angular resolution of 2° × 2°. A subset of regions in the same area was observed using the whole telescope which has a beam of 2° × 6'. Hydrogen RRLs were detected in most of the positions that were observed. The lv diagram and radial distribution computed from the observed spectra and their comparison with other species in the galactic plane indicate that the low density gas detected in the survey is distributed similar to the star forming regions. For an assumed temperature of 7000 K, we estimate that the densities and sizes of the regions are in the range 1 — 10 cm−3 and 20 — 200 pc respectively. Our data suggests that the low density ionized gas is in the form of outer envelopes of normal HII regions.
A survey of radio recombination lines (RRLs) in the Galactic plane (l = 332° − 0° − 89°) near 327 MHz made using the Ooty Radio Telescope (ORT) has detected carbon RRLs from all the positions in the longitude range 0° < l < 20° and from a few positions at other longitudes. The carbon lines detected in the survey are, most likely, emission counterparts of the absorption lines observed at frequencies below 150 MHz. Observations towards l = 13°.9, b = 0°.0 indicate that the broader (∼ 38 km s−1) carbon line detected in the lower resolution observation consists of multiple narrow components (∼ 10 km s−1) with different central velocities. The implications of the presence of such narrow components for the modeling of line emission is discussed.
A pilot project to observe recombination lines of hydrogen and carbon from Galactic HII regions near 20cm (n = 168) and 49cm (n = 220) using the 30-station correlator at the Giant Metre-wave Radio Telescope was undertaken. The preliminary results from observations of the HII regions W3 and S106 are presented here.
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