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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.
Campylobacter is the leading cause of foodborne bacterial gastroenteritis in humans worldwide, often associated with the consumption of undercooked poultry. In Jordan, the majority of broiler chicken production occurs in semi-commercial farms, where poor housing conditions and low bio-security are likely to promote campylobacter colonisation. While several studies provided estimates of the key parameters describing the within-flock transmission dynamics of campylobacter in typical high-income countries settings, these data are not available for Jordan and Middle-East in general. A Bayesian model framework was applied to a longitudinal dataset on Campylobacter jejuni infection in a Jordan flock to quantify the transmission rate of C. jejuni in broilers within the farm, the day when the flock first became infected, and the within-flock prevalence (WFP) at clearance. Infection with C. jejuni is most likely to have occurred during the first 8 days of the production cycle, followed by a transmission rate value of 0.13 new infections caused by one infected bird/day (95% CI 0.11–0.17), and a WFP at clearance of 34% (95% CI 0.24–0.47). Our results differ from published studies conducted in intensive poultry production systems in high-income countries but are well aligned with the expectations obtained by means of structured questionnaires submitted to academics with expertise on campylobacter in Jordan. This study provides for the first time the most likely estimates and credible intervals of key epidemiological parameters driving the dynamics of C. jejuni infection in broiler production systems commonly found in Jordan and the Middle-East and could be used to inform Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment models aimed to assess the risk of human exposure/infection to campylobacter through consumption of poultry meat.
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.
Family-based strategies to reduce the risk of overweight in childhood are needed in the Caribbean.
To investigate the associations between parental characteristics and risk of overweight and explore possible mechanisms.
Data from a parenting intervention were analysed. Parental characteristics were obtained by questionnaire at enrolment. At 18 months, 501 infants (82.9% of cohort) had weight and length measured using standardized methods. The association of parents’ characteristics with risk of infant overweight was assessed using random-effects logistic regression. Four focus groups among mothers in Jamaica were conducted to explore mechanisms.
Overall, 20.6% of infants were ‘at risk of overweight’. Fathers were present in 52% of households. Fathers’ presence [OR (95% CI) 0.60 (0.37–0.96)] was associated with reduced risk of overweight independent of socioeconomic status. Mothers reported that fathers encouraged healthier practices.
Fathers may be important agents of change in intervention strategies to prevent childhood overweight.
The discovery of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave signal has generated follow-up observations by over 50 facilities world-wide, ushering in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy. In this paper, we present follow-up observations of the gravitational wave event GW170817 and its electromagnetic counterpart SSS17a/DLT17ck (IAU label AT2017gfo) by 14 Australian telescopes and partner observatories as part of Australian-based and Australian-led research programs. We report early- to late-time multi-wavelength observations, including optical imaging and spectroscopy, mid-infrared imaging, radio imaging, and searches for fast radio bursts. Our optical spectra reveal that the transient source emission cooled from approximately 6 400 K to 2 100 K over a 7-d period and produced no significant optical emission lines. The spectral profiles, cooling rate, and photometric light curves are consistent with the expected outburst and subsequent processes of a binary neutron star merger. Star formation in the host galaxy probably ceased at least a Gyr ago, although there is evidence for a galaxy merger. Binary pulsars with short (100 Myr) decay times are therefore unlikely progenitors, but pulsars like PSR B1534+12 with its 2.7 Gyr coalescence time could produce such a merger. The displacement (~2.2 kpc) of the binary star system from the centre of the main galaxy is not unusual for stars in the host galaxy or stars originating in the merging galaxy, and therefore any constraints on the kick velocity imparted to the progenitor are poor.
The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA), located in Western Australia, is one of the low-frequency precursors of the international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project. In addition to pursuing its own ambitious science programme, it is also a testbed for wide range of future SKA activities ranging from hardware, software to data analysis. The key science programmes for the MWA and SKA require very high dynamic ranges, which challenges calibration and imaging systems. Correct calibration of the instrument and accurate measurements of source flux densities and polarisations require precise characterisation of the telescope’s primary beam. Recent results from the MWA GaLactic Extragalactic All-sky Murchison Widefield Array (GLEAM) survey show that the previously implemented Average Embedded Element (AEE) model still leaves residual polarisations errors of up to 10–20% in Stokes Q. We present a new simulation-based Full Embedded Element (FEE) model which is the most rigorous realisation yet of the MWA’s primary beam model. It enables efficient calculation of the MWA beam response in arbitrary directions without necessity of spatial interpolation. In the new model, every dipole in the MWA tile (4 × 4 bow-tie dipoles) is simulated separately, taking into account all mutual coupling, ground screen, and soil effects, and therefore accounts for the different properties of the individual dipoles within a tile. We have applied the FEE beam model to GLEAM observations at 200–231 MHz and used false Stokes parameter leakage as a metric to compare the models. We have determined that the FEE model reduced the magnitude and declination-dependent behaviour of false polarisation in Stokes Q and V while retaining low levels of false polarisation in Stokes U.
The current generation of experiments aiming to detect the neutral hydrogen signal from the Epoch of Reionisation (EoR) is likely to be limited by systematic effects associated with removing foreground sources from target fields. In this paper, we develop a model for the compact foreground sources in one of the target fields of the MWA’s EoR key science experiment: the ‘EoR1’ field. The model is based on both the MWA’s GLEAM survey and GMRT 150 MHz data from the TGSS survey, the latter providing higher angular resolution and better astrometric accuracy for compact sources than is available from the MWA alone. The model contains 5 049 sources, some of which have complicated morphology in MWA data, Fornax A being the most complex. The higher resolution data show that 13% of sources that appear point-like to the MWA have complicated morphology such as double and quad structure, with a typical separation of 33 arcsec. We derive an analytic expression for the error introduced into the EoR two-dimensional power spectrum due to peeling close double sources as single point sources and show that for the measured source properties, the error in the power spectrum is confined to high k⊥ modes that do not affect the overall result for the large-scale cosmological signal of interest. The brightest 10 mis-modelled sources in the field contribute 90% of the power bias in the data, suggesting that it is most critical to improve the models of the brightest sources. With this hybrid model, we reprocess data from the EoR1 field and show a maximum of 8% improved calibration accuracy and a factor of two reduction in residual power in k-space from peeling these sources. Implications for future EoR experiments including the SKA are discussed in relation to the improvements obtained.
Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) and maternal stress during pregnancy are two compromises that negatively impact neurodevelopment and increase the risk of developing later life neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, depression and behavioural disorders. Neurosteroids, particularly allopregnanolone, are important in protecting the developing brain and promoting many essential neurodevelopmental processes. Individually, IUGR and prenatal stress (PS) reduce myelination and neurogenesis within affected fetal brains, however less information is available on the combined effects of these two disorders on the term fetal brain. This study aimed to investigate how IUGR and PS impairs the neurosteroid pathway when combined using a guinea pig model, and how these then disrupt the neurodevelopment of the fetus. Uterine artery blood flow restriction was performed at GA30-35 to induce growth restriction, whilst PS was induced by exposure of the dam to a strobe light during gestation commencing GA40 and repeated every 5 days. Exposure in this model caused reductions in hippocampal CA1 MBP immunostaining of male fetuses in both IUGR alone and IUGR+PS paradigms but only by IUGR in the subcortical white mater, compared with control males. Plasma allopregnanolone was reduced by both stressors irrespective of sex, whereas GFAP or MAP2 expression were not affected by either stressor. Female neurodevelopment, as assessed by these markers, was unimpeded by these compromises. The addition of prenatal stress did not further compound these deficits.
We present low-frequency spectral energy distributions of 60 known radio pulsars observed with the Murchison Widefield Array telescope. We searched the GaLactic and Extragalactic All-sky Murchison Widefield Array survey images for 200-MHz continuum radio emission at the position of all pulsars in the Australia Telescope National Facility (ATNF) pulsar catalogue. For the 60 confirmed detections, we have measured flux densities in 20 × 8 MHz bands between 72 and 231 MHz. We compare our results to existing measurements and show that the Murchison Widefield Array flux densities are in good agreement.
The Dark Energy Survey is undertaking an observational programme imaging 1/4 of the southern hemisphere sky with unprecedented photometric accuracy. In the process of observing millions of faint stars and galaxies to constrain the parameters of the dark energy equation of state, the Dark Energy Survey will obtain pre-discovery images of the regions surrounding an estimated 100 gamma-ray bursts over 5 yr. Once gamma-ray bursts are detected by, e.g., the Swift satellite, the DES data will be extremely useful for follow-up observations by the transient astronomy community. We describe a recently-commissioned suite of software that listens continuously for automated notices of gamma-ray burst activity, collates information from archival DES data, and disseminates relevant data products back to the community in near-real-time. Of particular importance are the opportunities that non-public DES data provide for relative photometry of the optical counterparts of gamma-ray bursts, as well as for identifying key characteristics (e.g., photometric redshifts) of potential gamma-ray burst host galaxies. We provide the functional details of the DESAlert software, and its data products, and we show sample results from the application of DESAlert to numerous previously detected gamma-ray bursts, including the possible identification of several heretofore unknown gamma-ray burst hosts.
We present the preliminary results from observing the nearby radio galaxy M 87 for 156 hours (between the years 2012 and 2015) with the MAGIC telescopes, which lead to a significant very high energy (VHE, E > 100 GeV) detection of the source in quiescent states each year. Our VHE analysis combined with quasi-simultaneous data at other energies (from gamma-rays, X-rays, optical and radio) provides a unique opportunity to study the source variability and its broadband spectral energy distribution, which is found to disfavour a one-zone synchrotron/synchrotron self-Compton model. Therefore, other alternative scenarios for the photon emission are explored. We also find that the VHE emission is compatible with being produced close to the source radio core as previous data already indicated. A detailed paper presenting full results of the observing campaign is in preparation.
We estimate spatial gradients in the ionosphere using the Global Positioning System and GLONASS (Russian global navigation system) observations, utilising data from multiple Global Positioning System stations in the vicinity of Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory. In previous work, the ionosphere was characterised using a single-station to model the ionosphere as a single layer of fixed height and this was compared with ionospheric data derived from radio astronomy observations obtained from the Murchison Widefield Array. Having made improvements to our data quality (via cycle slip detection and repair) and incorporating data from the GLONASS system, we now present a multi-station approach. These two developments significantly improve our modelling of the ionosphere. We also explore the effects of a variable-height model. We conclude that modelling the small-scale features in the ionosphere that have been observed with the MWA will require a much denser network of Global Navigation Satellite System stations than is currently available at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory.
Neighboring tidewater glaciers often exhibit asynchronous dynamic behavior, despite relatively uniform regional atmospheric and oceanic forcings. This variability may be controlled by a combination of local factors, including glacier and fjord geometry, fjord heat content and circulation, and glacier surface melt. In order to characterize and understand contrasts in adjacent tidewater glacier and fjord dynamics, we made coincident ice-ocean-atmosphere observations at high temporal resolution (minutes to weeks) within a 10 000 km2 area near Uummannaq, Greenland. Water column velocity, temperature and salinity measurements reveal systematic differences in neighboring fjords that imply contrasting circulation patterns. The observed ocean velocity and hydrography, combined with numerical modeling, suggest that subglacial discharge plays a major role in setting fjord conditions. In addition, satellite remote sensing of seasonal ice flow speed and terminus position reveal both speedup and slow-down in response to melt, as well as differences in calving style among the neighboring glaciers. Glacier force budgets and modeling also point toward subglacial discharge as a key factor in glacier behavior. For the studied region, individual glacier and fjord geometry modulate subglacial discharge, which leads to contrasts in both fjord and glacier dynamics.
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.
The technology leading to very large aperture telescopes and their optics has progressed well in the period since 1984 and plans for many new large aperture telescopes have been made. Focal plane instrumentation continues to become more sophisticated or more efficient: multi-object capabilities, automatic instrument control and operation, and increasing use of CCDs are examples of areas to which this applies. The proportion of time devoted to observations using two-dimensional photoelectronic detectors has grown substantially at many observatories, particularly with telescopes of moderate aperture; and the use of high quantum efficiency array detectors is now being extended into the infrared spectral region. Important advances have also been made in instrumentation and techniques for ground-based high angular resolution interferometry.