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We present a catalogue of over 7000 sources from the GLEAM survey which have significant structure on sub-arcsecond scales at 162 MHz. The compact nature of these sources was detected and quantified via their Interplanetary Scintillation (IPS) signature, measured in interferometric images from the Murchison Widefield Array. The advantage of this approach is that all sufficiently compact sources across the survey area are included down to a well-defined flux density limit. The survey is based on
observations, and the area covered is somewhat irregular, but the area within
is covered entirely, and over 85% of this area has a detection limit for compact structure below 0.2 Jy. 7839 sources clearly showing IPS were detected (
confidence), with a further 5550 tentative (
confidence) detections. Normalised Scintillation Indices (NSI; a measure of the fraction of flux density coming from a compact component) are reported for these sources. Robust and informative upper limits on the NSI are reported for a further 31081 sources. This represents the largest survey of compact sources at radio frequencies ever undertaken.
We report on the detection of source noise in the time domain at 162 MHz with the Murchison Widefield Array. During the observation, the flux of our target source Virgo A (M87) contributes only $\sim$1% to the total power detected by any single antenna; thus, this source noise detection is made in an intermediate regime, where the source flux detected by the entire array is comparable with the noise from a single antenna. The magnitude of source noise detected is precisely in line with predictions. We consider the implications of source noise in this moderately strong regime on observations with current and future instruments.
The Commensal Real-time Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder Fast Transients survey is the first extensive astronomical survey using phased array feeds. Since January 2017, it has been searching for fast radio bursts in fly’s eye mode. Here, we present a calculation of the sensitivity and total exposure of the survey that detected the first 20 of these bursts, using the pulsars B1641-45 and B0833-45 as calibrators. The beamshape, antenna-dependent system noise, and the effects of radio-frequency interference and fluctuations during commissioning are quantified. Effective survey exposures and sensitivities are calculated as a function of the source counts distribution. Statistical ‘stat’ and systematics ‘sys’ effects are treated separately. The implied fast radio burst rate is significantly lower than the 37 sky−1 day−1 calculated using nominal exposures and sensitivities for this same sample by Shannon et al. (2018). At the Euclidean (best-fit) power-law index of −1.5 (−2.2), the rate is
(sys) ± 3.6 (stat) sky−1 day−1 (
(sys) ± 2.8 (stat) sky−1 day−1) above a threshold of 56.6 ± 6.6(sys) Jy ms (40.4 ± 1.2(sys) Jy ms). This strongly suggests that these calculations be performed for other FRB-hunting experiments, allowing meaningful comparisons to be made between them.
The GaLactic and Extragalactic All-sky Murchison Widefield Array survey is a radio continuum survey at 72–231 MHz of the whole sky south of declination +30º, carried out with the Murchison Widefield Array. In this paper, we derive source counts from the GaLactic and Extragalactic All-sky Murchison data at 200, 154, 118, and 88 MHz, to a flux density limit of 50, 80, 120, and 290 mJy respectively, correcting for ionospheric smearing, incompleteness and source blending. These counts are more accurate than other counts in the literature at similar frequencies as a result of the large area of sky covered and this survey’s sensitivity to extended emission missed by other surveys. At S154 MHz > 0.5 Jy, there is no evidence of flattening in the average spectral index (α ≈ −0.8 where S ∝ vα) towards the lower frequencies. We demonstrate that the Square Kilometre Array Design Study model by Wilman et al. significantly underpredicts the observed 154-MHz GaLactic and Extragalactic All-sky Murchison counts, particularly at the bright end. Using deeper Low-Frequency Array counts and the Square Kilometre Array Design Study model, we find that sidelobe confusion dominates the thermal noise and classical confusion at v ≳ 100 MHz due to both the limited CLEANing depth and the undeconvolved sources outside the field-of-view. We show that we can approach the theoretical noise limit using a more efficient and automated CLEAN algorithm.
We describe the parameters of a low-frequency all-sky survey of compact radio sources using Interplanetary Scintillation, undertaken with the Murchison Widefield Array. While this survey gives important complementary information to low-resolution survey, providing information on the sub-arsecond structure of every source, a survey of this kind has not been attempted in the era of low-frequency imaging arrays such as the Murchison Widefield Array and LOw Frequency Array. Here we set out the capabilities of such a survey, describing the limitations imposed by the heliocentric observing geometry and by the instrument itself. We demonstrate the potential for Interplanetary Scintillation measurements at any point on the celestial sphere and we show that at 160 MHz, reasonable results can be obtained within 30° of the ecliptic (2π str: half the sky). We also suggest some observational strategies and describe the first such survey, the Murchison Widefield Array Phase I Interplanetary Scintillation survey. Finally we analyse the potential of the recently upgraded Murchison Widefield Array and discuss the potential of the Square Kilometre Array-low to use Interplanetary Scintillation to probe sub-mJy flux density levels at sub-arcsecond angular resolution.
We present first results from pilot observations using a phased array feed (PAF) mounted on the Parkes 64-m radio telescope. The observations presented here cover a frequency range from 1 150 to 1 480 MHz and are used to show the ability of PAFs to suppress standing wave problems by a factor of ~10, which afflict normal feeds. We also compare our results with previous HIPASS observations and with previous H i images of the Large Magellanic Cloud. Drift scan observations of the GAMA G23 field resulted in direct H i detections at z = 0.0043 and z = 0.0055 of HIPASS galaxies J2242-30 and J2309-30. Our new measurements generally agree with archival data in spectral shape and flux density, with small differences being due to differing beam patterns. We also detect signal in the stacked H i data of 1 094 individually undetected galaxies in the GAMA G23 field in the redshift range 0.05 ⩽ z ⩽ 0.075. Finally, we use the low standing wave ripple and wide bandwidth of the PAF to set a 3σ upper limit to any positronium recombination line emission from the Galactic Centre of <0.09 K, corresponding to a recombination rate of <3.0 × 1045 s−1.
Although only three antennas of the Australia Telescope Compact Array are currently operational, we have made use of the technique of bandwidth synthesis to make an image of the radio galaxy 2152 – 69. The three baselines were used to observe the source at three different frequencies, effectively resulting in nine baselines, which have been used to produce an image with a surprisingly high dynamic range, and with a slightly higher resolution than any existing image.
The production of such a worthwhile result, despite being made with a small subset of the capabilities of the Australia Telescope, bodes well for the future operation of the instrument.
Several extragalactic HI surveys using a λ21 cm 13-beam focal plane array will begin in early 1997 using the Parkes 64 m telescope. These surveys are designed to detect efficiently nearby galaxies that have failed to be identified optically because of low optical surface brightness or high optical extinction. We discuss scientific and technical aspects of the multibeam receiver, including astronomical objectives, feed, receiver and correlator design and data acquisition. A comparison with other telescopes shows that the Parkes multibeam receiver has significant speed advantages for any large-area λ21 cm galaxy survey in the velocity range range 0–14000 km s−1.
The discovery of pulsars in 1967 marked the watershed of interest in short-time-scale phenomena in radio astronomy. Ionospheric scintillation on time scales of seconds, interplanetary scintillations at tenths of seconds and solar bursts of similar duration had already been studied. But with pulsars individual pulses contained subpulses of width about 10 ms, and later observations of microstructure were to show that structure with scales of 10—100 μs were present. In other areas searches for the 10—100 ms radio pulses expected to accompany the gravitational wave events resulting from stellar collapses were made, and more recently searches have been made for the radio pulse accompanying the explosion of small black holes (Rees 1977). Work in this area is summarized by O’Sullivan et al. (1978) and Phinney and Taylor (1979).
During 1990 we surveyed the southern sky using a multi-beam receiver at frequencies of 4850 and 843 MHz. The half-power beamwidths were 4 and 25 arcmin respectively. The finished surveys cover the declination range between +10 and −90 degrees declination, essentially complete in right ascension, an area of 7.30 steradians. Preliminary analysis of the 4850 MHz data indicates that we will achieve a five sigma flux density limit of about 30 mJy. We estimate that we will find between 80 000 and 90 000 new sources above this limit. This is a revised version of the paper presented at the Regional Meeting by the first four authors; the surveys now have been completed.
This paper describes the system architecture of a newly constructed radio telescope – the Boolardy engineering test array, which is a prototype of the Australian square kilometre array pathfinder telescope. Phased array feed technology is used to form multiple simultaneous beams per antenna, providing astronomers with unprecedented survey speed. The test array described here is a six-antenna interferometer, fitted with prototype signal processing hardware capable of forming at least nine dual-polarisation beams simultaneously, allowing several square degrees to be imaged in a single pointed observation. The main purpose of the test array is to develop beamforming and wide-field calibration methods for use with the full telescope, but it will also be capable of limited early science demonstrations.
I present examples of radio AGN with binary nuclei which provide the direct radio evidence for binary Super Massive Black Holes (SMBH) driving the AGN activity. There is also other evidence for distorted radio morphology and periodic variability which may indicate the presence of a second (inactive) SMBH. Finally I enumerate a number of possible radio tracers for the binary SMBH merger events.
The future of centimetre and metre-wave astronomy lies with the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), a telescope under development by a consortium of 17 countries that will be 50 times more sensitive than any existing radio facility. Most of the key science for the SKA will be addressed through large-area imaging of the Universe at frequencies from a few hundred MHz to a few GHz. The Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) is a technology demonstrator aimed in the mid-frequency range, and achieves instantaneous wide-area imaging through the development and deployment of phased-array feed systems on parabolic reflectors. The large field-of-view makes ASKAP an unprecedented synoptic telescope that will make substantial advances in SKA key science. ASKAP will be located at the Murchison Radio Observatory in inland Western Australia, one of the most radio-quiet locations on the Earth and one of two sites selected by the international community as a potential location for the SKA. In this paper, we outline an ambitious science program for ASKAP, examining key science such as understanding the evolution, formation and population of galaxies including our own, understanding the magnetic Universe, revealing the transient radio sky and searching for gravitational waves.
Preliminary specifications for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) call for 25% of the total collecting area of the dish array to be located at distances greater than 180 km from the core, with a maximum baseline of at least 3000 km. The array will provide angular resolution θ ≲ 40–2 mas at 0.5–10 GHz with image sensitivity reaching ≲50 nJy beam−1 in an 8-hour integration with 500-MHz bandwidth. Given these specifications, the high-angular-resolution component of the SKA will be capable of detecting brightness temperatures ≲200K with milliarcsecond-scale angular resolution. The aim of this article is to bring together in one place a discussion of the broad range of new and important high-angular-resolution science that will be enabled by the SKA, and in doing so, address the merits of long baselines as part of the SKA. We highlight the fact that high angular resolution requiring baselines greater than 1000 km provides a rich science case with projects from many areas of astrophysics, including important contributions to key SKA science.
Some 10 years ago the IAU Executive Committee created a Working Group on Future Large Scale Facilities, but its activities have fallen somewhat into abeyance in the last few years. It has been decided to revive the group, and Roger Davies (Oxford) has agreed to chair it.
A3667 is a remarkable cluster of galaxies possessing the two largest and brightest radio relics yet seen. It provides an important opportunity to examine the environments associated with relic production.
Radio astronomy provides a unique window on the universe, allowing us to study non-thermal processes (e.g. galactic nuclei, quasars, pulsars) at the highest angular resolution using VLBI, with low opacity. It is the most interesting waveband for SETI searches. To date it has yielded three Nobel prizes (microwave background, pulsars, gravitational radiation). There are both exciting possibilities and substantial challenges for radio astronomy to remain at the cutting edge over the next three decades. New instruments like ALMA and the SKA will open up new science if the challenge of dealing with human generated interference can be met. We summarise some of the issues and technological developments that will be essential to the future success of radio astronomy.
We present preliminar results of radio observations of 78 southern rich clusters, whose brightest member is a dumbbell galaxy or a multiple nucleus. We identified 41 radio sources with the cluster brightest member: 23 of the 44 observed have a multiple nucleus, and 18 of the 34 mapped have a dumbbell galaxy.
In many galaxy clusters, the first–ranked galaxy is not a single isolated object but has two or more components. Such galaxies show a wide range of morphologies, from dumbbell systems (two galaxies of roughly equal brightness (Δm < 1 – 2) inside a common halo) to galaxies with multiple nuclei (two or more condensations visible within the image of a single galactic spheroid, with each secondary nucleus at least two magnitudes fainter than the main system).
It is likely that in some multiple systems the companions are gravitationally bound to the central galaxy (often a cD) and may eventually be cannibalized; while in others we see unbound galaxies whose eccentric orbits in the cluster potential well bring them close to the cluster center where the cD is located (Tonry 1985).
Since many active galaxies are located in dense environments and show signs of interaction, it has often been suggested that gravitational interactions between galaxies may trigger nuclear activity.
We investigate the long-term flux density variations of the compact radio source Sgr A∗ at the galactic center by combining recent VLA observations with previous Green Bank interferometer data. We present radio flux density light-curves for Sgr A∗ at 20, 11, 6 and 3.7 cm from 1974 to 1987. Long-term variability with a timescale of at least 5 years is seen at 20 cm and there is evidence for more rapid variations at the shorter wavelengths. The variability timescales at 20, 11 and 6 cm fit the λ2 scaling predicted by the theory of refractive scintillation suggesting that the variability could be due to this cause. However, the timescales are relatively short, implying an unusually high velocity in the scattering screen. The modulation index of the variability is large and relatively independent of wavelength.