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We describe the performance of the Boolardy Engineering Test Array, the prototype for the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder telescope. Boolardy Engineering Test Array is the first aperture synthesis radio telescope to use phased array feed technology, giving it the ability to electronically form up to nine dual-polarisation beams. We report the methods developed for forming and measuring the beams, and the adaptations that have been made to the traditional calibration and imaging procedures in order to allow BETA to function as a multi-beam aperture synthesis telescope. We describe the commissioning of the instrument and present details of Boolardy Engineering Test Array’s performance: sensitivity, beam characteristics, polarimetric properties, and image quality. We summarise the astronomical science that it has produced and draw lessons from operating Boolardy Engineering Test Array that will be relevant to the commissioning and operation of the final Australian Square Kilometre Array Path telescope.
This paper describes the system architecture of a newly constructed radio telescope – the Boolardy engineering test array, which is a prototype of the Australian square kilometre array pathfinder telescope. Phased array feed technology is used to form multiple simultaneous beams per antenna, providing astronomers with unprecedented survey speed. The test array described here is a six-antenna interferometer, fitted with prototype signal processing hardware capable of forming at least nine dual-polarisation beams simultaneously, allowing several square degrees to be imaged in a single pointed observation. The main purpose of the test array is to develop beamforming and wide-field calibration methods for use with the full telescope, but it will also be capable of limited early science demonstrations.
Lunar laser ranging (LLR) has long provided many of our best measurements on the fundamental nature of gravity, including the strong equivalence principle, time -rate-of-change of the gravitational constant, the inverse square law, geodetic precession, and gravitomagnetism. This paper serves as a brief overview of APOLLO: a recently operational LLR experiment capable of millimeter-level range precision.
Mathematical models are constructed to investigate the population dynamics of Verocytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli (VTEC) serogroups O26 and O103 in two different calf cohorts. We compare the epidemiological characteristics of these two serogroups within the same calf cohort as well as the same serogroups between the two calf cohorts. The sources of infection are quantified for both calf cohort studies. VTEC serogroups O26 and O103 mainly differ in the rate at which calves acquire infection from sources other than infected calves, while infected calves typically remain infectious for less than 1 week regardless of the serogroups. Fewer than 20% of VTEC-positive samples are the result of calf-to-calf transmission. PFGE typing data are available for VTEC-positive samples to further subdivide the serogroup data in one of the two calf cohort studies. For serogroup O26 but not O103, there is evidence for unequal environmental exposure to infection with different PFGE types.
Successful management of endangered species may be greatly facilitated by the ability to monitor population trends. The Australian northern hairy-nosed wombat (Lasiorhinus krefftii) is one of the world's most endangered mammals, but precise abundance estimation by trapping surveys has proven exceedingly difficult. A mark-recapture study was conducted in the sole remaining L. krefftii population, based on microsatellite identification of individuals and their gender from DNA in remotely collected single hairs. Population size was estimated to be 113 (95% confidence interval of 96 to 150). This suggests an increase in population size over the previous estimate of 65 (95% CI 42-186) in 1993, although the estimates did not differ significantly. There was a significant male bias in the sex ratio (2.25 males:1 female), in agreement with recent trapping surveys. The non-invasive approach used here is vital for estimating population size and trends, and hence it is the most important recent advance in the conservation management of the northern hairy-nosed wombat.
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