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The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) is an open access telescope dedicated to studying the low-frequency (80–300 MHz) southern sky. Since beginning operations in mid-2013, the MWA has opened a new observational window in the southern hemisphere enabling many science areas. The driving science objectives of the original design were to observe 21 cm radiation from the Epoch of Reionisation (EoR), explore the radio time domain, perform Galactic and extragalactic surveys, and monitor solar, heliospheric, and ionospheric phenomena. All together
programs recorded 20 000 h producing 146 papers to date. In 2016, the telescope underwent a major upgrade resulting in alternating compact and extended configurations. Other upgrades, including digital back-ends and a rapid-response triggering system, have been developed since the original array was commissioned. In this paper, we review the major results from the prior operation of the MWA and then discuss the new science paths enabled by the improved capabilities. We group these science opportunities by the four original science themes but also include ideas for directions outside these categories.
The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) is an electronically steered low-frequency (<300 MHz) radio interferometer, with a ‘slew’ time less than 8 s. Low-frequency (∼100 MHz) radio telescopes are ideally suited for rapid response follow-up of transients due to their large field of view, the inverted spectrum of coherent emission, and the fact that the dispersion delay between a 1 GHz and 100 MHz pulse is on the order of 1–10 min for dispersion measures of 100–2000 pc/cm3. The MWA has previously been used to provide fast follow-up for transient events including gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), fast radio bursts (FRBs), and gravitational waves, using systems that respond to gamma-ray coordinates network packet-based notifications. We describe a system for automatically triggering MWA observations of such events, based on Virtual Observatory Event standard triggers, which is more flexible, capable, and accurate than previous systems. The system can respond to external multi-messenger triggers, which makes it well-suited to searching for prompt coherent radio emission from GRBs, the study of FRBs and gravitational waves, single pulse studies of pulsars, and rapid follow-up of high-energy superflares from flare stars. The new triggering system has the capability to trigger observations in both the regular correlator mode (limited to ≥0.5 s integrations) and using the Voltage Capture System (VCS, 0.1 ms integration) of the MWA and represents a new mode of operation for the MWA. The upgraded standard correlator triggering capability has been in use since MWA observing semester 2018B (July–Dec 2018), and the VCS and buffered mode triggers will become available for observing in a future semester.
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.
The detection of a neutron star merger by the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory and Advanced Virgo gravitational wave detectors, and the subsequent detection of an electromagnetic counterpart have opened a new era of transient astronomy. With upgrades to the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory and Advanced Virgo detectors and new detectors coming online in Japan and India, neutron star mergers will be detected at a higher rate in the future, starting with the O3 observing run which will begin in early 2019. The detection of electromagnetic emission from these mergers provides vital information about merger parameters and allows independent measurement of the Hubble constant. The Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder is expected to become fully operational in early 2019, and its 30 deg2 field of view will enable us to rapidly survey large areas of sky. In this work we explore prospects for detecting both prompt and long-term radio emission from neutron star mergers with Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder and determine an observing strategy that optimises the use of telescope time. We investigate different strategies to tile the sky with telescope pointings in order to detect radio counterparts with limited observing time, using 475 simulated gravitational wave events. Our results show a significant improvement in observing efficiency when compared with a naïve strategy of covering the entire localisation above some confidence threshold, even when achieving the same total probability covered.
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.
Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) of parents are associated with a variety of negative health outcomes in offspring. Little is known about the mechanisms by which ACEs are transmitted to the next generation. Given that maternal depression and anxiety are related to ACEs and negatively affect children’s behaviour, these exposures may be pathways between maternal ACEs and child psychopathology. Child sex may modify these associations. Our objectives were to determine: (1) the association between ACEs and children’s behaviour, (2) whether maternal symptoms of prenatal and postnatal depression and anxiety mediate the relationship between maternal ACEs and children’s behaviour, and (3) whether these relationships are moderated by child sex. Pearson correlations and latent path analyses were undertaken using data from 907 children and their mothers enrolled the Alberta Pregnancy Outcomes and Nutrition study. Overall, maternal ACEs were associated with symptoms of anxiety and depression during the perinatal period, and externalizing problems in children. Furthermore, we observed indirect associations between maternal ACEs and children’s internalizing and externalizing problems via maternal anxiety and depression. Sex differences were observed, with boys demonstrating greater vulnerability to the indirect effects of maternal ACEs via both anxiety and depression. Findings suggest that maternal mental health may be a mechanism by which maternal early life adversity is transmitted to children, especially boys. Further research is needed to determine if targeted interventions with women who have both high ACEs and mental health problems can prevent or ameliorate the effects of ACEs on children’s behavioural psychopathology.
Necrotising otitis externa is a severe inflammatory process affecting soft tissue and bone, mostly in diabetic patients. Diabetic patients are also at risk of diabetic foot osteomyelitis, another inflammatory condition involving soft tissue and bone. This review aimed to describe the similarities and differences of these entities in an attempt to further advance the management of necrotising otitis externa.
A PubMed search was conducted using the key words ‘otitis externa’, ‘necrotising otitis externa’, ‘malignant otitis externa’, ‘osteomyelitis’ and ‘diabetic foot’.
Results and conclusion
The similarities regarding patient population and pathophysiology between necrotising otitis externa and diabetic foot osteomyelitis raise basic questions concerning the effects of long-standing diabetes on the external ear. The concordance between local swabs and bone cultures in diabetic foot osteomyelitis is less than 50 per cent. If this holds true also to necrotising otitis externa, the role of deep tissue cultures should be strongly considered. Similar to diabetic foot osteomyelitis, magnetic resonance imaging should be considered in selected necrotising otitis externa subgroups.