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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.
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.
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.
We present techniques developed to calibrate and correct Murchison Widefield Array low-frequency (72–300 MHz) radio observations for polarimetry. The extremely wide field-of-view, excellent instantaneous (u, v)-coverage and sensitivity to degree-scale structure that the Murchison Widefield Array provides enable instrumental calibration, removal of instrumental artefacts, and correction for ionospheric Faraday rotation through imaging techniques. With the demonstrated polarimetric capabilities of the Murchison Widefield Array, we discuss future directions for polarimetric science at low frequencies to answer outstanding questions relating to polarised source counts, source depolarisation, pulsar science, low-mass stars, exoplanets, the nature of the interstellar and intergalactic media, and the solar environment.
The weak thermal emission from the largest minor planets can be detected in the microwave regime by the Very Large Array (VLA). Signal-to-noise ratios are sufficiently high to permit precise measurement of the positions of these objects at all points in their orbits with respect to background extragalactic sources. We are in the process of obtaining observations of astrometric accuracy for minor planets 1 Ceres, 2 Pallas, 4 Vesta, and 10 Hygeia.
Minor planets have historically served as “test particles” in the solar system, and optical observations of these objects have been valuable in the determination of fundamental astronomical constants. In particular, optical observations of minor planets have played an important role in the establishment of the fundamental optical reference frame by permitting the determination of the orientation of the Earth's orbit relative to the stars defining the frame.
Similarly, radio observations of these bodies can play a corresponding role in the establishment of a fundamental radio reference frame. Our observations will provide a direct link between the dynamical and radio reference frames, and provide important information on the relationship between the radio and optical reference frames.
The astrometric optical interferometer on Mt. Wilson is providing a new source of astrophysical and astrometric data on bright stars. The instrument, with 12-meter baselines, has been in operation since late 1986. The interferometer is capable of wide-angle astrometry, that is, the determination of very precise stellar positions within a reference frame defined by bright stars spread across a large area (of order one steradian) of the sky. This paper addresses the question of whether such an instrument can be used to establish a fundamental system — that is, one tied to the Earth in some well-defined way. Some astrometric data from this instrument are presented to illustrate the difficulties involved. Proposed means of addressing these problems in future instruments are discussed.
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 United States Naval Observatory (NAVOBSY) and the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) are collaborating in a program to apply radio interferometric techniques to the determination of variations in Earth rotation, polar motion, and improved astronomical position reference systems. Investigations of VLBI and connected interferometer techniques and radio sources for astrometic application have been in progress for several years as part of the NRL radio astronomy program, and currently NRL and NAVOBSY are carrying out experimental programs to investigate VLBI time transfer techniques and UT determination using the connected element interferometer of the NRAO in Green Bank. Some previous results of observations using the Green Bank interferometer and proposed plans for operation as a dedicated system over a period of time to evaluate effectiveness for precise determination of Earth rotation parameters are discussed.
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).
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.
The Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) will give us an unprecedented opportunity to investigate the transient sky at radio wavelengths. In this paper we present VAST, an ASKAP survey for Variables and Slow Transients. VAST will exploit the wide-field survey capabilities of ASKAP to enable the discovery and investigation of variable and transient phenomena from the local to the cosmological, including flare stars, intermittent pulsars, X-ray binaries, magnetars, extreme scattering events, interstellar scintillation, radio supernovae, and orphan afterglows of gamma-ray bursts. In addition, it will allow us to probe unexplored regions of parameter space where new classes of transient sources may be detected. In this paper we review the known radio transient and variable populations and the current results from blind radio surveys. We outline a comprehensive program based on a multi-tiered survey strategy to characterise the radio transient sky through detection and monitoring of transient and variable sources on the ASKAP imaging timescales of 5 s and greater. We also present an analysis of the expected source populations that we will be able to detect with VAST.
The heterosporous aquatic ferns in the genus Azolla contain a heterocystous cyanobacterium, Anabaena azollae, as a symbiont. The Anabaena occupies cavities formed in the aerial dorsal leaf lobes of the ferns and can provide the symbiotic associations with their total N requirement via the fixation of atmospheric nitrogen. The photosynthetic pigments of the fern and cyanobacterium are complementary. Photosynthesis is of course the source of energy for growth and the ultimate source of the ATP and reductant required for N2 fixation in the light or dark. However, nitrogen fixation is maximal in the light and the phycobili-proteins of the Anabaena are as effective as its chlorophyll in driving this photosystem I-linked process.
The partners exhibit a coordinated pattern of development with the Azolla exerting a control over the Anabaena, affecting both its metabolism and differentiation. Anabaena filaments associated with the fern apices lack heterocysts. As cavities are formed and occupied by the Anabaena, it differentiates a high proportion of heterocysts and exhibits nitrogenase activity. In mature cavities, the Anabaena receives fixed carbon from the Azolla and releases fixed N2 as ammonium. The ammonium is assimilated and/or transported by the Azolla toward its stem apices. Special epidermal cavity trichomes, which are intimately associated with the Anabaena at all stages in the ontogeny of the association, may facilitate metabolite exchange between the fern and cyanobacterium.
This contribution summarizes some strategies that we followed for the optimization of supramolecular architectures aiming at controlling the binding and organization of biopolymers at solid/solution-interfaces in a membrane-mimetic approach. The examples given concern mostly self-assembly processes and the biorecognition between biotin and streptavidin.
We have developed a technique to immobilize a multilayer enzyme assembly on an optical fiber surface. The technique utilizes a bifunctional amino coupling agent to link between different layers of enzymes. The method offers the flexibility of controlling the number of enzymes on a fiber surface. Multilayers of enzyme — Alkaline Phosphatase have been characterized using ellipsometry and surface plasma resonance. Chemiluminecence experiments have been conducted as a function of number of enzyme layers. The results indicated that at least 3 layers of enzyme can be assembled on a fiber surface. Utilising the new immobilization technique, a novel fiber optic biosensor system for the detection of organophosphorous-based pesticide has been developed. The detection mechanism is the pesticide inhibition of alkaline phosphatase catalyzed chemiluminescence. As a model analyte, paraoxon with ppb level concentration has been detected.
Electrospinning for the formation of nanoscale diameter fibers has been explored for high performance filters and biomaterial scaffolds for vascular grafts or wound dressings. Fibers with nanoscale diameters provide benefits due to high surface area. In this study we used electrospinning for protein-based biomaterials to fabricate scaffolds from aqueous regenerated silkworm silk, Bombyx mori,. Adhesion, spreading and proliferation of human bone marrow stem cells (hBMSCs) on electrospun silk was characterized. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and MTT analyses demonstrated that the electrospun silk matrices promoted hBMSC attachment and proliferation over 10 days in culture. The responses of the hBMSCs on the electrospun silk matrices, combined with the biocompatibile properties of the silk fibroin protein matrix, suggest potential for use of this biomaterial as scaffolds for tissue engineering.