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We apply two methods to estimate the 21-cm bispectrum from data taken within the Epoch of Reionisation (EoR) project of the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA). Using data acquired with the Phase II compact array allows a direct bispectrum estimate to be undertaken on the multiple redundantly spaced triangles of antenna tiles, as well as an estimate based on data gridded to the uv-plane. The direct and gridded bispectrum estimators are applied to 21 h of high-band (167–197 MHz; z = 6.2–7.5) data from the 2016 and 2017 observing seasons. Analytic predictions for the bispectrum bias and variance for point-source foregrounds are derived. We compare the output of these approaches, the foreground contribution to the signal, and future prospects for measuring the bispectra with redundant and non-redundant arrays. We find that some triangle configurations yield bispectrum estimates that are consistent with the expected noise level after 10 h, while equilateral configurations are strongly foreground-dominated. Careful choice of triangle configurations may be made to reduce foreground bias that hinders power spectrum estimators, and the 21-cm bispectrum may be accessible in less time than the 21-cm power spectrum for some wave modes, with detections in hundreds of hours.
Background: Biallelic variants in POLR1C are associated with POLR3-related leukodystrophy (POLR3-HLD), or 4H leukodystrophy (Hypomyelination, Hypodontia, Hypogonadotropic Hypogonadism), and Treacher Collins syndrome (TCS). The clinical spectrum of POLR3-HLD caused by variants in this gene has not been described. Methods: A cross-sectional observational study involving 25 centers worldwide was conducted between 2016 and 2018. The clinical, radiologic and molecular features of 23 unreported and previously reported cases of POLR3-HLD caused by POLR1C variants were reviewed. Results: Most participants presented between birth and age 6 years with motor difficulties. Neurological deterioration was seen during childhood, suggesting a more severe phenotype than previously described. The dental, ocular and endocrine features often seen in POLR3-HLD were not invariably present. Five patients (22%) had a combination of hypomyelinating leukodystrophy and abnormal craniofacial development, including one individual with clear TCS features. Several cases did not exhibit all the typical radiologic characteristics of POLR3-HLD. A total of 29 different pathogenic variants in POLR1C were identified, including 13 new disease-causing variants. Conclusions: Based on the largest cohort of patients to date, these results suggest novel characteristics of POLR1C-related disorder, with a spectrum of clinical involvement characterized by hypomyelinating leukodystrophy with or without abnormal craniofacial development reminiscent of TCS.
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.
We describe the motivation and design details of the ‘Phase II’ upgrade of the Murchison Widefield Array radio telescope. The expansion doubles to 256 the number of antenna tiles deployed in the array. The new antenna tiles enhance the capabilities of the Murchison Widefield Array in several key science areas. Seventy-two of the new tiles are deployed in a regular configuration near the existing array core. These new tiles enhance the surface brightness sensitivity of the array and will improve the ability of the Murchison Widefield Array to estimate the slope of the Epoch of Reionisation power spectrum by a factor of ∼3.5. The remaining 56 tiles are deployed on long baselines, doubling the maximum baseline of the array and improving the array u, v coverage. The improved imaging capabilities will provide an order of magnitude improvement in the noise floor of Murchison Widefield Array continuum images. The upgrade retains all of the features that have underpinned the Murchison Widefield Array’s success (large field of view, snapshot image quality, and pointing agility) and boosts the scientific potential with enhanced imaging capabilities and by enabling new calibration strategies.
In Cameroon, there is a national programme engaged in the control of schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiasis. In certain locations, the programme is transitioning from morbidity control towards local interruption of parasite transmission. The volcanic crater lake villages of Barombi Mbo and Barombi Kotto are well-known transmission foci and are excellent context-specific locations to assess appropriate disease control interventions. Most recently they have served as exemplars of expanded access to deworming medications and increased environmental surveillance. In this paper, we review infection dynamics through time, beginning with data from 1953, and comment on the short- and long-term success of disease control. We show how intensification of local control is needed to push towards elimination and that further environmental surveillance, with targeted snail control, is needed to consolidate gains in preventive chemotherapy as well as empower local communities to take ownership of interventions.
The study of parasites typically crosses into other research disciplines and spans across diverse scales, from molecular- to populational-levels, notwithstanding promoting an understanding of parasites set within evolutionary time. Today, the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) help frame much of contemporary parasitological research, since parasites can be found in all ecosystems, blighting human, animal and plant health. In recognition of the multi-disciplinary nature of parasitological research, the 2017 Autumn Symposium of the British Society for Parasitology was held in London to provide a forum for novel exchange across medical, veterinary and wildlife fields of study. Whilst the meeting was devoted to the topic of parasitism, it sought to foster mutualism, the antithesis perhaps of parasitism, by forging new academic connections and social networks to exchange novel ideas. The meeting also celebrated the longstanding career of Professor David Rollinson, FLS in the award of the International Federation for Tropical Medicine Medal for his efforts spanning 40 years of parasitological research. Indeed, David has done so much to explore and promote the fascinating biology of parasitism, as exemplified by the 15 manuscripts contained within this Special Issue.
A curious aspect of the evolution of the hypnozoite theory of malarial relapse is its transmogrification from theory into ‘fact’, this being of historical, linguistic, scientific and sociological interest. As far as it goes, the hypnozoite explanation for relapse is almost certainly correct. I contend, however, that many of the genotypically homologous, non-reinfection, relapse-like Plasmodium vivax recurrences that researchers ascribe to hypnozoite activation are probably hypnozoite-independent. Indeed, some malariologists are starting to recognize that homologous P. vivax recurrences have most likely been overattributed to activation of hypnozoites. Hitherto identified, non-hypnozoite, possible plasmodial sources of recurrence that must be considered, besides circulating erythrocytic stages, include parasites in splenic dendritic cells, other cells in the spleen (in addition to infected erythrocytes there), bone marrow (importantly) and the skin. I argue that we need to take into account the possibility of a dual or multiple extra-vascular origin of P. vivax non-reinfection recurrences, not arbitrarily discount it. The existence of a P. vivax reservoir(s) is a topical subject and one of practical importance for malaria eradication. Pertinent drug-associated matters are also discussed, as is the dormancy-related significance of clues provided by blood-stage-induced malarial infection.
Programmatic surveillance of intestinal schistosomiasis during control can typically use four diagnostic tests, either singularly or in combination, but these have yet to be cross-compared directly. Our study assembled a complete diagnostic dataset, inclusive of infection intensities, from 258 children from five Ugandan primary schools. The schools were purposely selected as typical of the endemic landscape near Lake Albert and reflective of high- and low-transmission settings. Overall prevalence was: 44.1% (95% CI 38.0–50.2) by microscopy of duplicate Kato-Katz smears from two consecutive stools, 56.9% (95% CI 50.8–63.0) by urine-circulating cathodic antigen (CCA) dipstick, 67.4% (95% CI 61.6–73.1) by DNA-TaqMan® and 75.1% (95% CI 69.8–80.4) by soluble egg antigen enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (SEA-ELISA). A cross-comparison of diagnostic sensitivities, specificities, positive and negative predictive values was undertaken, inclusive of a latent class analysis (LCA) with a LCA-model estimate of prevalence by each school. The latter ranged from 9.6% to 100.0%, and prevalence by school for each diagnostic test followed a static ascending order or monotonic series of Kato-Katz, urine-CCA dipstick, DNA-TaqMan® and SEA-ELISA. We confirm that Kato-Katz remains a satisfactory diagnostic standalone in high-transmission settings but in low-transmission settings should be augmented or replaced by urine-CCA dipsticks. DNA-TaqMan® appears suitable in both endemic settings though is only implementable if resources permit. In low-transmission settings, SEA-ELISA remains the method of choice to evidence an absence infection. We discuss the pros and cons of each method concluding that future surveillance of intestinal schistosomiasis would benefit from a flexible, context-specific approach both in choice and application of each diagnostic method, rather than a single one-size fits all approach.
We present new software to cross-match low-frequency radio catalogues: the Positional Update and Matching Algorithm. The Positional Update and Matching Algorithm combines a positional Bayesian probabilistic approach with spectral matching criteria, allowing for confusing sources in the matching process. We go on to create a radio sky model using Positional Update and Matching Algorithm based on the Murchison Widefield Array Commissioning Survey, and are able to automatically cross-match ~ 98.5% of sources. Using the characteristics of this sky model, we create simple simulated mock catalogues on which to test the Positional Update and Matching Algorithm, and find that Positional Update and Matching Algorithm can reliably find the correct spectral indices of sources, along with being able to recover ionospheric offsets. Finally, we use this sky model to calibrate and remove foreground sources from simulated interferometric data, generated using OSKAR (the Oxford University visibility generator). We demonstrate that there is a substantial improvement in foreground source removal when using higher frequency and higher resolution source positions, even when correcting positions by an average of 0.3 arcmin given a synthesised beam-width of ~ 2.3 arcmin.
We have compiled a catalogue of H ii regions detected with the Murchison Widefield Array between 72 and 231 MHz. The multiple frequency bands provided by the Murchison Widefield Array allow us identify the characteristic spectrum generated by the thermal Bremsstrahlung process in H ii regions. We detect 306 H ii regions between 260° < l < 340° and report on the positions, sizes, peak, integrated flux density, and spectral indices of these H ii regions. By identifying the point at which H ii regions transition from the optically thin to thick regime, we derive the physical properties including the electron density, ionised gas mass, and ionising photon flux, towards 61 H ii regions. This catalogue of H ii regions represents the most extensive and uniform low frequency survey of H ii regions in the Galaxy to date.
Field studies were conducted near Crowley, LA, to evaluate the effects of simulated herbicide drift on ‘Cocodrie' rice. Each treatment was made with the spray volume varying proportionally to herbicide dosage based on a spray volume of 234 L ha−1 and an imazamox rate of 44 g ai ha−1. The 6.3%, 2.7-g ha−1, herbicide rate was applied at a spray volume of 15 L ha−1 and the 12.5%, 5.5-g ha−1, herbicide rate was applied at a spray volume of 29 L ha−1. Rice was treated at the one-tiller, panicle differentiation, boot, and physiological maturity growth stages. Injury was observed with imazamox applied at the one-tiller timing. Injury was not observed until 21 and 28 d after treatment (DAT) when imazamox was applied at the panicle differentiation and boot timings. The greatest reduction in plant height resulted from applications at the one-tiller timing at 7 and 14 DAT; however, when evaluated at harvest, plant height was reduced no more than 10%. Imazamox, averaged over rate, applied to rice at the boot timing reduced primary crop yield 66% compared with the nontreated. Applications at the boot timing resulted in an increased ratoon crop yield; however, the yield increase did not compensate for the loss in the primary crop yield.
We compare first-order (refractive) ionospheric effects seen by the MWA with the ionosphere as inferred from GPS data. The first-order ionosphere manifests itself as a bulk position shift of the observed sources across an MWA field of view. These effects can be computed from global ionosphere maps provided by GPS analysis centres, namely the CODE. However, for precision radio astronomy applications, data from local GPS networks needs to be incorporated into ionospheric modelling. For GPS observations, the ionospheric parameters are biased by GPS receiver instrument delays, among other effects, also known as receiver DCBs. The receiver DCBs need to be estimated for any non-CODE GPS station used for ionosphere modelling. In this work, single GPS station-based ionospheric modelling is performed at a time resolution of 10 min. Also the receiver DCBs are estimated for selected Geoscience Australia GPS receivers, located at Murchison Radio Observatory, Yarragadee, Mount Magnet and Wiluna. The ionospheric gradients estimated from GPS are compared with that inferred from MWA. The ionospheric gradients at all the GPS stations show a correlation with the gradients observed with the MWA. The ionosphere estimates obtained using GPS measurements show promise in terms of providing calibration information for the MWA.
GLEAM, the GaLactic and Extragalactic All-sky MWA survey, is a survey of the entire radio sky south of declination + 25° at frequencies between 72 and 231 MHz, made with the MWA using a drift scan method that makes efficient use of the MWA’s very large field-of-view. We present the observation details, imaging strategies, and theoretical sensitivity for GLEAM. The survey ran for two years, the first year using 40-kHz frequency resolution and 0.5-s time resolution; the second year using 10-kHz frequency resolution and 2 s time resolution. The resulting image resolution and sensitivity depends on observing frequency, sky pointing, and image weighting scheme. At 154 MHz, the image resolution is approximately 2.5 × 2.2/cos (δ + 26.7°) arcmin with sensitivity to structures up to ~ 10° in angular size. We provide tables to calculate the expected thermal noise for GLEAM mosaics depending on pointing and frequency and discuss limitations to achieving theoretical noise in Stokes I images. We discuss challenges, and their solutions, that arise for GLEAM including ionospheric effects on source positions and linearly polarised emission, and the instrumental polarisation effects inherent to the MWA’s primary beam.
Field studies were conducted near Crowley, LA to evaluate the effects of simulated herbicide drift on ‘Cocodrie' rice. Each treatment was made with the spray volume varying proportionally to herbicide dosage based on a spray volume of 234 L ha−1 and a glufosinate rate of 493 g ai ha−1. The 6.3%, 31 g ha−1, herbicide rate was applied at a spray volume of 15 L ha−1 and the 12.5%, 62 g ha−1, herbicide rate was applied at a spray volume of 29 L ha−1. Glufosinate applied at one-tiller, panicle differentiation (PD) growth stage, and boot resulted in crop injury at 7 and 14 d after treatment. At 21 and 28 d after treatment, crop injury was still evident but was less than 10%. Glufosinate applied at one-tiller resulted in plant height reductions of 4 to 6%; however, at harvest, height reductions were 1% or less. Glufosinate applied to rice in the boot stage had lower rice yield in the primary crop, but no difference was observed in the ratoon crop. Harvested seed from the primary crop germinated 7 to 11% less than the nontreated when rice was treated with 31 and 62 g ha−1 of glufosinate. Seedling vigor was reduced when treated with 31 and 62 g ha−1 of glufosinate.
The Murchison Widefield Array is a Square Kilometre Array Precursor. The telescope is located at the Murchison Radio–astronomy Observatory in Western Australia. The MWA consists of 4 096 dipoles arranged into 128 dual polarisation aperture arrays forming a connected element interferometer that cross-correlates signals from all 256 inputs. A hybrid approach to the correlation task is employed, with some processing stages being performed by bespoke hardware, based on Field Programmable Gate Arrays, and others by Graphics Processing Units housed in general purpose rack mounted servers. The correlation capability required is approximately 8 tera floating point operations per second. The MWA has commenced operations and the correlator is generating 8.3 TB day−1 of correlation products, that are subsequently transferred 700 km from the MRO to Perth (WA) in real-time for storage and offline processing. In this paper, we outline the correlator design, signal path, and processing elements and present the data format for the internal and external interfaces.
The Murchison Widefield Array is a new low-frequency interferometric radio telescope built in Western Australia at one of the locations of the future Square Kilometre Array. We describe the automated radio-frequency interference detection strategy implemented for the Murchison Widefield Array, which is based on the aoflagger platform, and present 72–231 MHz radio-frequency interference statistics from 10 observing nights. Radio-frequency interference detection removes 1.1% of the data. Radio-frequency interference from digital TV is observed 3% of the time due to occasional ionospheric or atmospheric propagation. After radio-frequency interference detection and excision, almost all data can be calibrated and imaged without further radio-frequency interference mitigation efforts, including observations within the FM and digital TV bands. The results are compared to a previously published Low-Frequency Array radio-frequency interference survey. The remote location of the Murchison Widefield Array results in a substantially cleaner radio-frequency interference environment compared to Low-Frequency Array’s radio environment, but adequate detection of radio-frequency interference is still required before data can be analysed. We include specific recommendations designed to make the Square Kilometre Array more robust to radio-frequency interference, including: the availability of sufficient computing power for radio-frequency interference detection; accounting for radio-frequency interference in the receiver design; a smooth band-pass response; and the capability of radio-frequency interference detection at high time and frequency resolution (second and kHz-scale respectively).
The science cases for incorporating high time resolution capabilities into modern radio telescopes are as numerous as they are compelling. Science targets range from exotic sources such as pulsars, to our Sun, to recently detected possible extragalactic bursts of radio emission, the so-called fast radio bursts (FRBs). Originally conceived purely as an imaging telescope, the initial design of the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) did not include the ability to access high time and frequency resolution voltage data. However, the flexibility of the MWA’s software correlator allowed an off-the-shelf solution for adding this capability. This paper describes the system that records the 100 μs and 10 kHz resolution voltage data from the MWA. Example science applications, where this capability is critical, are presented, as well as accompanying commissioning results from this mode to demonstrate verification.
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.
Field studies were conducted near Crowley, LA in 2005 through 2007 to evaluate the effects of simulated herbicide drift on ‘Cocodrie' rice. Each application was made with the spray volume varying proportionally to herbicide dosage based on a constant spray volume of 234 L ha−1 and a glyphosate rate of 863 g ae ha−1. The 6.3%, 54–g ha−1, herbicide rate was applied at a spray volume of 15 L ha−1, and the 12.5%, 108–g ha−1, herbicide rate was applied at a spray volume of 29 L ha−1. Compared with the nontreated, glyphosate applied at one tiller, panicle differentiation (PD), and boot resulted in increased crop injury. The greatest injury was observed on rice treated at the one-tiller timing. Applications of glyphosate at one tiller, PD, and boot reduced plant height at harvest and primary and total crop yield. Rice treated at primary crop maturity was not affected by glyphosate applications.
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.