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A K-band (18-25 GHz) reflected-wave ruby maser (Moore and Clauss 1979) has been borrowed from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory for radio astronomy use on the NASA 64-m antenna of the Deep Space Network at the Tidbinbilla Tracking Station, near Canberra. The purpose of the installation is to provide additional sensitive spectral line, continuum, and VLBI capabilities in the southern hemisphere. Previous measurements at 22.3 GHz (λ = 13.5 mm) determined that the Tidbinbilla 64-m antenna has a peak aperture efficiency of ˜22%, a well-behaved beam shape and consistent pointing (Fourikis and Jauncey 1979). Before installing the maser on the antenna a cooled (circulator) switch was added to provide a beam-switching capability, and a spectral line receiver following the maser was incorporated. The system was assembled and tested at JPL in late 1980 and installed at Tidbinbilla early in 1981. We give here a brief description and present some of the first line observations made in February and March 1981. Extensive line and continuum observations are planned with the present system and a program is under way to determine the telescope pointing characteristics.
In the rotating “lighthouse” interpretation of pulsars, the average radio pulse profile is generally assumed to be a section through the average beam shape radiated by a spinning neutron star. The radio emission received in any one particular period usually differs markedly from the average profile. Such variations have been classified as subpulses (~ 3 ms) and micropulses (~ .3 ms); see Cordes (1979) for examples. However, there is not general agreement as to whether these variations are caused by the rotation of a steady narrow beam or by temporal variations of a wider beam. We first discuss these questions independently of the emitting particle location, and then apply them to a particular model.
The Micro-arcsecond Scintillation-Induced Variability (MASIV) Survey and its follow-up observations have provided large datasets of AGN intra-day variability (IDV) at radio wavelengths. These data have shown that IDV arises mainly from scintillation caused by scattering in the ionized interstellar medium (ISM) of our Galaxy, based on correlation with Galactic latitudes and line-of-sight Galactic electron column densities. The sensitivity of interstellar scintillation (ISS) towards source angular sizes has provided a new tool for studying the most compact components of radio-loud AGNs at microarcsecond (μas) scale resolution - much higher than any ground-based radio interferometer. We present here key results from the MASIV Survey and its follow-up observations, and point to relevant papers where these results have been published.
Interstellar scintillation (ISS) has been shown to be primarily responsible for the short term intraday variability (IDV) exhibited by extragalactic sources at centimeter wavelengths (e.g. Bignall et al. 2006 and references therein). For a source to scintillate its angular size must be comparable to that of the first Fresnel zone (Narayan 1992) which implies microarcsecond angular sizes for screen distances of tens to hundreds of parsecs. This has the potential to probe within a few light months of the central black hole (Bignall et al. 2006). The aim of the Microarcsecond Scintillation-Induced Variability (MASIV) survey was to provide a catalogue of at least a hundred AGNs that vary on timescales of hours to days to provide the basis of detailed studies of the IDV population drawn from a well-defined sample.
There is new evidence which identifies seasonal changes of the variability time scale in intraday variable (IDV) sources with refractive interstellar scintillation effects. Such a RISS model takes the annual change of the Earth's velocity relative to the scattering medium into account. In September 1998 we found a remarkable prolongation of the variability time scale in the IDV source 0917+624 with only small variations in flux density during a period of 5 days. This was explained as a seasonal effect, in which the velocity vector of the Earth and the interstellar medium nearly cancelled. In order to further investigate the applicability of the model for 0917+624, we performed an Effelsberg 6 cm-flux monitoring program over the course of one year. Since September 2000, the source appears to be remarkably inactive and yet (May 2001) no return to its normal, faster and stronger variability pattern is observed. Here, our observational results and a possible explanation for the current quiescence are presented.
The discovery that interstellar scintillation (ISS) is suppressed for compact radio sources at z ≳ 2 has enabled ISS surveys to be used as cosmological probes. We discuss briefly the potential and challenges involved in such an undertaking, based on a dual-frequency survey of ISS carried out to determine the origin of this redshift dependence.
For more than a decade psychiatrists have paid lip service to the idea that peer group medical audit might be valuable, but few have initiated regular audit meetings. This could be due partly to fear of criticism from colleagues and partly to a feeling that we can well do without additional, possibly time wasting, meetings. We in the Department of Psychiatry of the Royal South Hants Hospital have held monthly audit meetings for the last three years. We would like to report our experience of these, as we have found them to be supportive rather than threatening—despite our initial apprehension—and we believe that they have resulted in improvements in our service.
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