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The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) is an open access telescope dedicated to studying the low-frequency (80–300 MHz) southern sky. Since beginning operations in mid-2013, the MWA has opened a new observational window in the southern hemisphere enabling many science areas. The driving science objectives of the original design were to observe 21 cm radiation from the Epoch of Reionisation (EoR), explore the radio time domain, perform Galactic and extragalactic surveys, and monitor solar, heliospheric, and ionospheric phenomena. All together
programs recorded 20 000 h producing 146 papers to date. In 2016, the telescope underwent a major upgrade resulting in alternating compact and extended configurations. Other upgrades, including digital back-ends and a rapid-response triggering system, have been developed since the original array was commissioned. In this paper, we review the major results from the prior operation of the MWA and then discuss the new science paths enabled by the improved capabilities. We group these science opportunities by the four original science themes but also include ideas for directions outside these categories.
Diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of vector-borne disease (VBD) in pets is one cornerstone of companion animal practices. Veterinarians are facing new challenges associated with the emergence, reemergence, and rising incidence of VBD, including heartworm disease, Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and ehrlichiosis. Increases in the observed prevalence of these diseases have been attributed to a multitude of factors, including diagnostic tests with improved sensitivity, expanded annual testing practices, climatologic and ecological changes enhancing vector survival and expansion, emergence or recognition of novel pathogens, and increased movement of pets as travel companions. Veterinarians have the additional responsibility of providing information about zoonotic pathogen transmission from pets, especially to vulnerable human populations: the immunocompromised, children, and the elderly. Hindering efforts to protect pets and people is the dynamic and ever-changing nature of VBD prevalence and distribution. To address this deficit in understanding, the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) began efforts to annually forecast VBD prevalence in 2011. These forecasts provide veterinarians and pet owners with expected disease prevalence in advance of potential changes. This review summarizes the fidelity of VBD forecasts and illustrates the practical use of CAPC pathogen prevalence maps and forecast data in the practice of veterinary medicine and client education.
Trace minerals have important roles in immune function and oxidative metabolism; however, little is known about the relationships between supplementation level and source with outcomes in dairy cattle. Multiparous Holstein cows (n=48) beginning at 60 to 140 days in milk were utilized to determine the effects of trace mineral amount and source on aspects of oxidative metabolism and responses to intramammary lipopolysaccharide (LPS) challenge. Cows were fed a basal diet meeting National Research Council (NRC) requirements except for no added zinc (Zn), copper (Cu) or manganese (Mn). After a 4-week preliminary period, cows were assigned to one of four topdress treatments in a randomized complete block design with a 2×2 factorial arrangement of treatments: (1) NRC inorganic (NRC levels using inorganic (sulfate-based) trace mineral supplements only); (2) NRC organic (NRC levels using organic trace mineral supplements (metals chelated to 2-hydroxy-4-(methythio)-butanoic acid); (3) commercial inorganic (approximately 2×NRC levels using inorganic trace mineral supplements only; and (4) commercial organic (commercial levels using organic trace mineral supplements only). Cows were fed the respective mineral treatments for 6 weeks. Treatment effects were level, source and their interaction. Activities of super oxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase in erythrocyte lysate and concentrations of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) and total antioxidant capacity (TAC) in plasma were measured as indices of oxidative metabolism. Effects of treatment on those indices were not significant when evaluated across the entire experimental period. Plasma immunoglobulin G level was higher in cows supplemented with organic trace minerals over the entire treatment period; responses assessed as differences of before and after Escherichia coli J5 bacterin vaccination at the end of week 2 of treatment period were not significant. Cows were administered an intramammary LPS challenge during week 5; during week 6 cows fed commercial levels of Zn, Cu and Mn tended to have higher plasma TAC and cows fed organic sources had decreased plasma TBARS. After the LPS challenge, the extent and pattern of response of plasma cortisol concentrations and clinical indices (rectal temperature and heart rate) were not affected by trace mineral level and source. Productive performance including dry matter intake and milk yield and composition were not affected by treatment. Overall, results suggest that the varying level and source of dietary trace minerals do not have significant short-term effects on oxidative metabolism indices and clinical responses to intramammary LPS challenge in midlactation cows.
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.
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.
Medical factors including tuberculosis, scurvy, lead poisoning and botulism have been proposed to explain the high death rate prior to desertion of the ships on Sir John Franklin's expedition of 1845–1848 but their role remains unclear because the surgeons’ Sick books which recorded illness on board have eluded discovery. In their absence, this study examines the Sick books of Royal Naval search squadrons sent in search of Franklin, and which encountered similar conditions to his ships, to consider whether their morbidity and mortality might reflect that of the missing expedition. The Sick books of HMS Assistance, Enterprise, Intrepid, Investigator, Pioneer and Resolute yielded 1,480 cases that were coded for statistical analysis. On the basis of the squadrons’ patterns of illness it was concluded that Franklin's crews would have suffered common respiratory and gastro-intestinal disorders, injuries and exposure and that deaths might have occurred from respiratory, cardiovascular and tubercular conditions. Scurvy occurred commonly and it was shown that the method of preparing ‘antiscorbutic’ lemon juice for the search squadrons and Franklin's ships would have reduced its capacity to prevent the disease but there were no grounds to conclude that scurvy was significant at the time of deserting the ships. There was no clear evidence of lead poisoning despite the relatively high level of lead exposure that was inevitable on ships at that time. There was no significant difference between the deaths of non-officer ranks on Franklin's ships and several of the search ships. The greater number of deaths of Franklin's officers was proposed to be more probably a result of non-medical factors such as accidents and injuries sustained while hunting and during exploration.
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 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).
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.
The calendar of American colleges and universities is such that many classes in early British literature were reading Beowulf shortly before or after 11 September 2001. To some of these instructors and students, Beowulf's advice to Hrothgar that “it is better for everyone to avenge his friend than to mourn much” (Sēlre bið ǣġhwǣm / þæt hē his frēond wrece bonne hē fela murne) had a peculiar resonance as this nation both mourned and contemplated a military response. The following years have seen a remarkable outpouring of new Beowulfs, in print, performance, and newer media. While the reasons for this phenomenon are doubtless manifold and complex, the products of this curious renaissance can offer insight into current values and anxieties in our culture. These are large and complex issues, and though they cannot be explored fully in the space of one essay, I hope to contribute to that project by focusing on the treatments of the hero in a few of these productions.
As scholars of medievalism are well aware, the way heroes of ancient and medieval tales are re-imagined for contemporary audiences says a great deal about our own conceptions of the heroic: what is desirable and what is possible in a hero for our time. This is true for a wide range of subjects and throughout the long history of medievalisms, Robin Hood and various characters from the Arthurian legend being perhaps the most endlessly malleable.