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The Molonglo Observatory Synthesis Telescope (MOST) is an 18000 m2 radio telescope located 40 km from Canberra, Australia. Its operating band (820–851 MHz) is partly allocated to telecommunications, making radio astronomy challenging. We describe how the deployment of new digital receivers, Field Programmable Gate Array-based filterbanks, and server-class computers equipped with 43 Graphics Processing Units, has transformed the telescope into a versatile new instrument (UTMOST) for studying the radio sky on millisecond timescales. UTMOST has 10 times the bandwidth and double the field of view compared to the MOST, and voltage record and playback capability has facilitated rapid implementaton of many new observing modes, most of which operate commensally. UTMOST can simultaneously excise interference, make maps, coherently dedisperse pulsars, and perform real-time searches of coherent fan-beams for dispersed single pulses. UTMOST operates as a robotic facility, deciding how to efficiently target pulsars and how long to stay on source via real-time pulsar folding, while searching for single pulse events. Regular timing of over 300 pulsars has yielded seven pulsar glitches and three Fast Radio Bursts during commissioning. UTMOST demonstrates that if sufficient signal processing is applied to voltage streams, innovative science remains possible even in hostile radio frequency environments.
Photogrammetric processing of archival stereo imagery offers the opportunity to reconstruct glacier volume changes for regions where no such data exist, and to better constrain the contribution to sea-level rise from small glaciers and ice caps. The ability to derive digital elevation model (DEM) measurements of glacier volume from photogrammetry relies on good-quality, well-distributed ground reference data, which may be difficult to acquire. This study shows that ground-control points (GCPs) can be identified and extracted from point-cloud airborne lidar data and used to control photogrammetric glacier models. The technique is applied to midtre Lovénbreen, a small valley glacier in northwest Svalbard. We show that the amount of ground control measured and the elevation accuracy of GCP coordinates (based on known and theoretical error considerations) has a significant effect on photogrammetric model statistics, DEM accuracy and the subsequent geodetic measurement of glacier volume change. Models controlled with fewer than 20 lidar control points or GCPs from sub-optimal areas within the swath footprint overestimated volume change by 14–53% over a 2 year period. DEMs derived from models utilizing 20–25 or more GCPs, however, gave volume change estimates within ∼4% of those from repeat lidar data (−0.51 m a−1 between 2003 and 2005). Our results have important implications for the measurement of glacier volume change from archival stereo-imagery sources.
The Square Kilometre Array will be an amazing instrument for pulsar astronomy. While the full SKA will be sensitive enough to detect all pulsars in the Galaxy visible from Earth, already with SKA1, pulsar searches will discover enough pulsars to increase the currently known population by a factor of four, no doubt including a range of amazing unknown sources. Real time processing is needed to deal with the 60 PB of pulsar search data collected per day, using a signal processing pipeline required to perform more than 10 POps. Here we present the suggested design of the pulsar search engine for the SKA and discuss challenges and solutions to the pulsar search venture.
The linearly polarized component of a pulsar signal at different radio frequencies can help to constrain the parallel component of the magnetic field along the line of sight. In this work we measured the polarimetric properties of the pulsars in the globular cluster 47 Tucanae and we report the Rotation Measure (RM) for 13 of them. A gradient in the RM values of the pulsars across the cluster is detected suggesting the presence of significant variations in the magnetic field across the very small angular scales associated with the lines of sight to the pulsars in 47 Tucanae. Both magnetic fields located in the globular cluster or in the Galactic disk in the direction of the cluster are taken into consideration. However, more detailed modelling of the dynamics of the cluster and deeper observations with the MeerKAT and/or the SKA1 radio telescopes are necessary to discriminate among the models.
The MPIfR is working together with SKA-SA and the Universities of Manchester and Oxford to deploy three instruments on MeerKAT: An S-band receiver system, a dedicated beamforming cluster and a flexible pulsar search cluster. Together these instruments will provide MeerKAT with powerful tools for supporting a wide range of scientific applications and in particular will enable large-scale pulsar and fast transient surveys to be performed. In these proceedings we describe the design, implementation and deployment timeline for these instruments.
The challenges of detecting and localising Fast Radio Bursts in real time can be met with the use of Phased Array Feeds. One such system, capable of creating up to 36 simultaneous beams, is currently being commissioned at the Effelsberg radio telescope in Germany following testing at the 64 m Parkes radio telescope. The PAFINDER (Phased Array Feed FRB Finder) pipeline will be used with this receiver to enable real–time single–pulse detection and localisation.
The class of radio transients called Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) encompasses enigmatic single pulses, each unique in its own way, hindering a consensus for their origin. The key to demystifying FRBs lies in discovering many of them in order to identity commonalities – and in real time, in order to find potential counterparts at other wavelengths. The recently upgraded UTMOST in Australia, is undergoing a backend transformation to rise as a fast transient detection machine. The first interferometric detections of FRBs with UTMOST, place their origin beyond the near-field region of the telescope thus ruling out local sources of interference as a possible origin. We have localised these bursts to much better than the ones discovered at the Parkes radio telescope and have plans to upgrade UTMOST to be capable of much better localisation still.
A wide variety of X-ray spectral forms has been reported in BL Lac objects. Concave spectra, i.e. a steep soft X-ray spectrum with a flat high energy tail, have been reported in a few of the brightest BL Lacs (e.g Urry 1986). Conversely, convex spectra (steep hard X-rays, flat soft X-ray spectrum) have also been reported, sometimes in the same objects (Madejski 1985, Barr et al 1988, George et al 1988). The high energy tails have usually been invoked as a signature of synchrotron-self-Compton emission. Two conflicting interpretations of the convex spectra have been made. Urry et al (1986) suggest absorption by a partially ionised medium, probably intrinsic to the BL Lac object, following the identification of an Oxygen absorption trough in the Einstein OGS spectrum of PKS 2155-304 by Canizares and Kruper (1984). Conversely, Barr et al (1988) attribute the hard X-ray steepening to energy loss mechanisms operating on a synchrotron source.
With the changing distribution of infectious diseases, and an increase in the burden of non-communicable diseases, low- and middle-income countries, including those in Africa, will need to expand their health care capacities to effectively respond to these epidemiological transitions. The interrelated risk factors for chronic infectious and non-communicable diseases and the need for long-term disease management, argue for combined strategies to understand their underlying causes and to design strategies for effective prevention and long-term care. Through multidisciplinary research and implementation partnerships, we advocate an integrated approach for research and healthcare for chronic diseases in Africa.
Recent EXOSAT observations of active galactic nuclei are presented. Unlike earlier X-ray satellites (all of which flew in low earth orbit), the deep orbit of EXOSAT allows long continuous observations of celestial X-ray sources, uninterrupted by earth occultation etc. We present the results of EXOSAT observations of several AGN which have been seen to vary rapidly (timescale 0.2–6 hours). We also consider the implications of rapid variability in AGN. For Seyfert galaxies and quasars, we find a highly significant correlation between the timescale of variability and their X-ray luminosity. They are not, howwever, bounded either by the (classical) Eddington limit nor by efficiency arguments. We sugest, rather, that the emitting plasma is dominated by electron-positron pairs.
We present low resolution spectrophotometric and imaging ISO observations of a sample of 58 AGN's over the 2.5–11.6 μ range. The data strongly support unification schemes and set new constraints on models of the molecular torus.
Depression is one of the most prevalent mental illnesses worldwide and a leading cause of disability, especially in the setting of treatment resistance. In recent years, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) has emerged as a promising alternative strategy for treatment-resistant depression and its clinical efficacy has been investigated intensively across the world. However, the underlying neurobiological mechanisms of the antidepressant effect of rTMS are still not fully understood. This review aims to systematically synthesize the literature on the neurobiological mechanisms of treatment response to rTMS in patients with depression. Medline (1996–2014), Embase (1980–2014) and PsycINFO (1806–2014) were searched under set terms. Three authors reviewed each article and came to consensus on the inclusion and exclusion criteria. All eligible studies were reviewed, duplicates were removed, and data were extracted individually. Of 1647 articles identified, 66 studies met both inclusion and exclusion criteria. rTMS affects various biological factors that can be measured by current biological techniques. Although a number of studies have explored the neurobiological mechanisms of rTMS, a large variety of rTMS protocols and parameters limits the ability to synthesize these findings into a coherent understanding. However, a convergence of findings suggest that rTMS exerts its therapeutic effects by altering levels of various neurochemicals, electrophysiology as well as blood flow and activity in the brain in a frequency-dependent manner. More research is needed to delineate the neurobiological mechanisms of the antidepressant effect of rTMS. The incorporation of biological assessments into future rTMS clinical trials will help in this regard.
40Ar/39Ar in situ UV laser ablation of white mica, Rb–Sr mineral isochrons and zircon fission track dating were applied to determine ages of very low- to low-grade metamorphic processes at 3.5±0.4 kbar, 280±30°C in the Avalonian Mira terrane of SE Cape Breton Island (Nova Scotia). The Mira terrane comprises Neoproterozoic volcanic-arc rocks overlain by Cambrian sedimentary rocks. Crystallization of metamorphic white mica was dated in six metavolcanic samples by 40Ar/39Ar spot age peaks between 396±3 and 363±14 Ma. Rb–Sr systematics of minerals and mineral aggregates yielded two isochrons at 389±7 Ma and 365±8 Ma, corroborating equilibrium conditions during very low- to low-grade metamorphism. The dated white mica is oriented parallel to foliations produced by sinistral strike-slip faulting and/or folding related to the Middle–Late Devonian transpressive assembly of Avalonian terranes during convergence and emplacement of the neighbouring Meguma terrane. Exhumation occurred earlier in the NW Mira terrane than in the SE. Transpression was related to the closure of the Rheic Ocean between Gondwana and Laurussia by NW-directed convergence. The 40Ar/39Ar spot age spectra also display relict age peaks at 477–465 Ma, 439 Ma and 420–428 Ma attributed to deformation and fluid access, possibly related to the collision of Avalonia with composite Laurentia or to earlier Ordovician–Silurian rifting. Fission track ages of zircon from Mira terrane samples range between 242±18 and 225±21 Ma and reflect late Palaeozoic reburial and reheating close to previous peak metamorphic temperatures under fluid-absent conditions during rifting prior to opening of the Central Atlantic Ocean.
To assess the impact of active alerting of positive blood culture data coupled with stewardship intervention on time to appropriate therapy, length of stay, and mortality in patients with gram-negative bacteremia.
Quasi-experimental retrospective cohort study in patients with gram-negative bacteremia at the Detroit Medical Center from 2009 to 2011.
Three hospitals (1 community, 2 academic) with active antimicrobial stewardship programs within the Detroit Medical Center.
All patients with monomicrobial gram-negative bacteremia during the study period.
Active alerting of positive blood culture data coupled with stewardship intervention (2010-2011) compared with patients who received no formalized stewardship intervention (2009).
Active alerting and intervention led to a decreased time to appropriate therapy (8 [interquartile range (IQR), 2-24] vs 14 [IQR, 2-35] hours; P = .014) in patients with gram-negative bacteremia. After controlling for differences between groups, being in the intervention arm was associated with an independent reduction in length of stay (odds ratio [OR], 0.73 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.62-0.86]), correlating to a median attributable decrease in length of stay of 2.2 days. Additionally, multivariate modeling of patients who were not on appropriate antimicrobial therapy at the time of initial culture positivity showed that patients in the intervention group had a significant reduction in both length of stay (OR, 0.76 [95% CI, 0.66-0.86]) and infection-related mortality (OR, 0.24 [95% CI, 0.08-0.76]).
Active alerting coupled with stewardship intervention in patients with gram-negative bacteremia positively impacted time to appropriate therapy, length of stay, and mortality and should be a target of antimicrobial stewardship programs.
Reproductive effects from phthalate exposure have been documented mostly in animal studies. This study explored the association between prenatal exposure to phthalate metabolites, anogenital distance and penile measurements in male newborns in Toluca, State of Mexico. A total of 174 pregnant women provided urine samples for phthalate analysis during their last prenatal visit, and the 73 who gave birth to male infants were included in the study. The 73 male newborns were weighed and measured using standardized methods after delivery. After adjusting for creatinine and supine length at birth, significant inverse associations were observed between an index of prenatal exposure to total phthalate exposure and the distance from the anus to anterior base of the penis (β = −0.191 mm per 1 μg/l, P = 0.037), penile width (β = −0.0414, P = 0.050) and stretched length (β = −0.2137, P = 0.034); prenatal exposure to mono-2-ethylhexyl phthalate exposure was associated with a reduction in the stretched length of the penis (β = −0.2604, P = 0.050). Human exposure to phthalates is a public health concern, and the system most vulnerable to its potential effects seems to be the immature male reproductive tract.
The OVV blazar 3C 446 was monitored over seven months in 1997 with ground based telescopes and instruments on ESA's Infrared Space Observatory (ISO). The aim was to try to detect variations in the IR and see if these were correlated with optical variations. The object varied in the optical and near-IR during this period, but did not vary in the far-IR. Despite being a factor of ten weaker than in 1983, the optical-IR SED exhibited the same slope. The new far-IR observations from ISO allow us to determine the location of the turnover in the spectrum, caused by synchrotron self-absorption. It occurs just longwards of 100 μm.