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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.
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 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.
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.
This paper presents the design and science goals for the SkyMapper telescope. SkyMapper is a 1.3-m telescope featuring a 5.7-square-degree field-of-view Cassegrain imager commissioned for the Australian National University's Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics. It is located at Siding Spring Observatory, Coonabarabran, NSW, Australia and will see first light in late 2007.
The imager possesses 16 384 × 16 384 0.5-arcsec pixels. The primary scientific goal of the facility is to perform the Southern Sky Survey, a six-colour and multi-epoch (four-hour, one-day, one-week, one-month and one-year sampling) photometric survey of the southerly 2π sr to g ∼23 mag. The survey will provide photometry to better than 3% global accuracy and astrometry to better than 50 milliarcsec. Data will be supplied to the community as part of the Virtual Observatory effort. The survey will take five years to complete.
The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) is one of three Square Kilometre Array Precursor telescopes and is located at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in the Murchison Shire of the mid-west of Western Australia, a location chosen for its extremely low levels of radio frequency interference. The MWA operates at low radio frequencies, 80–300 MHz, with a processed bandwidth of 30.72 MHz for both linear polarisations, and consists of 128 aperture arrays (known as tiles) distributed over a ~3-km diameter area. Novel hybrid hardware/software correlation and a real-time imaging and calibration systems comprise the MWA signal processing backend. In this paper, the as-built MWA is described both at a system and sub-system level, the expected performance of the array is presented, and the science goals of the instrument are summarised.
Between 1972 and 1976 a series of 15 trials was carried out at various climatically favoured sites throughout Scotland to assess the potential of new hybrid maize varieties of European origin under Scottish conditions. No meaningful differences were found between varieties in respect of dry-matter yield or maturity.
Seed rates ranged from 100 to 200 × 103 seeds/ha giving final stands from 40 to 194 × 103 plants/ha. Regression analyses for the variety Dekalb 202 included in 54 treatments indicated that the relationship between plant population density and dry-matter yield was partly linear with an important quadratic function, suggesting an optimum of 179 × 103 (± 80 × 103) plants/ha. Plant population density accounted for 65·9% (P < 0·01) of the variance in dry-matter yield but was not significantly related to dry-matter content.
Climatic variation between years had no overriding influence on growth and development. Dry-matter production for the variety Dekalb 202 sown in mid-May ranged from 2·86 (1972) to 14·54 t/ha (1975) with associated dry-matter contents of 15·1 and 24·1% respectively. In a few instances slightly higher dry-matter contents (maximum 28·6%) from mid-May sowings were associated with lower yields.
Neither date of sowing nor accumulated temperature to harvest measured as Ontario Heat Units was significantly related to yield but date of sowing accounted for 29·5% (P < 0·01) of the variance in dry-matter content. Accumulated Ontario Units at harvest were not significantly related to dry-matter content.
An interesting relationship between dry-matter yield and the date on which the crop had received 1379 Ontario Units was found. This relationship may be useful in selecting sites at which maize may be grown or to predict maximum potential final yield in any given season.
In summer 1977 a random survey was made of 2250 fields on 1153 farms selected throughout the United Kingdom. Wild oat, Avena spp., was surveyed in all countries; black grass, Alopecurus myosuroides, was surveyed in England and Wales; and couch grass, including Agropyron repens and other perennial grasses, in Scotland and N. Ireland.
Wild oat was reported by farmers on 95% of farms in England, 34% in Wales, 65% in Scotland and 30% in N. Ireland; the areas of infestation in the different countries were 67, 13, 37 and 16% respectively. The majority of wild oat was A.fatua. Only 6% of the cereal area of U.K., including sprayed and unsprayed fields, contained more than one wild oat seed head/m2 (10000/ha), the majority had less than one/20 m2. Black grass was reported on 50% of farms in England (22% of cereal area) mainly in East and South, and on 2% of farms in Wales. Couch grass occurred on 92% of farms in Scotland and 68% in N. Ireland: areas of infestation were 88 and 67% respectively. Most of the infestations of all three weeds had been present for longer than 5 years.
Most farmers intended to eliminate or reduce wild oat and few proposed to hold the weed at its present level or do nothing. Herbicides were used against wild oat on approximately half of the infested area in England and Wales, with proportionately more use in Wales and much less in Scotland and N. Ireland. A third of the black grass infested area of England was treated with a herbicide. There was little spraying against couch grass in Scotland and N. Ireland. Details of dose, time of application and mixing of chemicals were obtained. Wild oat was subsequently found on most of the area treated against this weed, similar observations were made of black grass and couch grass. Most farmers considered herbicide performance good or excellent and those in East and South England believed wild oat to be decreasing as a problem; farmers elsewhere thought the problem to be increasing.
Hand pulling of wild oat (roguing) had occurred on only one tenth of the infested area but a greater area was intended to be rogued after the survey visit. Much of the land that had been rogued was found subsequently to contain few wild oats.
The survey provided information on associations between weed presence, soil type and cropping system, the types of herbicide used and farmers’ impressions of their performance. Comparisons are made with previous surveys in 1972, and information on the disposal of the 1976 crop of straw and on types of cultivation used in different regions is provided. The implications of the results are discussed.
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