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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.
The current generation of experiments aiming to detect the neutral hydrogen signal from the Epoch of Reionisation (EoR) is likely to be limited by systematic effects associated with removing foreground sources from target fields. In this paper, we develop a model for the compact foreground sources in one of the target fields of the MWA’s EoR key science experiment: the ‘EoR1’ field. The model is based on both the MWA’s GLEAM survey and GMRT 150 MHz data from the TGSS survey, the latter providing higher angular resolution and better astrometric accuracy for compact sources than is available from the MWA alone. The model contains 5 049 sources, some of which have complicated morphology in MWA data, Fornax A being the most complex. The higher resolution data show that 13% of sources that appear point-like to the MWA have complicated morphology such as double and quad structure, with a typical separation of 33 arcsec. We derive an analytic expression for the error introduced into the EoR two-dimensional power spectrum due to peeling close double sources as single point sources and show that for the measured source properties, the error in the power spectrum is confined to high k⊥ modes that do not affect the overall result for the large-scale cosmological signal of interest. The brightest 10 mis-modelled sources in the field contribute 90% of the power bias in the data, suggesting that it is most critical to improve the models of the brightest sources. With this hybrid model, we reprocess data from the EoR1 field and show a maximum of 8% improved calibration accuracy and a factor of two reduction in residual power in k-space from peeling these sources. Implications for future EoR experiments including the SKA are discussed in relation to the improvements obtained.
We describe the performance of the Boolardy Engineering Test Array, the prototype for the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder telescope. Boolardy Engineering Test Array is the first aperture synthesis radio telescope to use phased array feed technology, giving it the ability to electronically form up to nine dual-polarisation beams. We report the methods developed for forming and measuring the beams, and the adaptations that have been made to the traditional calibration and imaging procedures in order to allow BETA to function as a multi-beam aperture synthesis telescope. We describe the commissioning of the instrument and present details of Boolardy Engineering Test Array’s performance: sensitivity, beam characteristics, polarimetric properties, and image quality. We summarise the astronomical science that it has produced and draw lessons from operating Boolardy Engineering Test Array that will be relevant to the commissioning and operation of the final Australian Square Kilometre Array Path telescope.
Worldwide, dating rock art is difficult to achieve because of the frequent lack of datable material and the difficulty of removing contamination from samples. Our research aimed to select the paints that would be the most likely to be successfully radiocarbon dated and to estimate the quantity of paint needed depending on the nature of the paint and the weathering and alteration products associated with it. To achieve this aim, a two-step sampling strategy, coupled with a multi-instrument characterization (including SEM-EDS, Raman spectroscopy, and FTIR spectroscopy analysis) and a modified acid-base-acid (ABA) pretreatment, was created. In total, 41 samples were dated from 14 sites in three separate regions of southern Africa. These novel protocols ensure that the 14C chronology produced was robust and could also be subsequently applied to different regions with possible variations in paint preparation, geology, weathering conditions, and contaminants.
The yields of spring barley during a medium-term (7 years) compost and slurry addition experiment and the soil carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) contents, bacterial community structure, soil microbial biomass and soil respiration rates have been determined to assess the effects of repeated, and in some cases very large, organic amendments on soil and crop parameters. For compost, total additions were equivalent to up to 119 t C/ha and 1·7 t N/ha and for slurry they were 25 t C/ha and 0·35 t N/ha over 7 years, which represented very large additions compared to control soil C and N contents (69 t C/ha and 0·3 t N/ha in the 0–30 cm soil depth). There was an initial positive response to compost and slurry addition on barley yield, but over the experiment the yield differential between the amounts of compost addition declined, indicating that repeated addition of compost at a lower rate over several years had the same cumulative effect as a large single compost application. By the end of the experiment it was clear that the addition of compost and slurry increased soil C and N contents, especially towards the top of the soil profile, as well as soil respiration rates. However, the increases in soil C and N contents were not proportional to the amount of C and N added, suggesting either that: (i) a portion of the added C and N was more vulnerable to loss; (ii) that its addition rendered another C or N pool in the soil more susceptible to loss; or (iii) that the C inputs from additional crop productivity did not increase in line with the organic amendments. Soil microbial biomass was depressed at the highest rate of organic amendment, and whilst this may have been due to genuine toxic or inhibitory effects of large amounts of compost, it could also be due to the inaccuracy of the substrate-induced respiration approach used for determining soil biomass when there is a large supply of organic matter. At the highest compost addition, the bacterial community structure was significantly altered, suggesting that the amendments significantly altered soil community dynamics.
White matter (WM) impairments have been reported in patients with bipolar disorder (BD) and those at high familial risk of developing BD. However, the distribution of these impairments has not been well characterized. Few studies have examined WM integrity in young people early in the course of illness and in individuals at familial risk who have not yet passed the peak age of onset.
WM integrity was examined in 63 BD subjects, 150 high-risk (HR) individuals and 111 participants with no family history of mental illness (CON). All subjects were aged 12 to 30 years.
This young BD group had significantly lower fractional anisotropy within the genu of the corpus callosum (CC) compared with the CON and HR groups. Moreover, the abnormality in the genu of the CC was also present in HR participants with recurrent major depressive disorder (MDD) (n = 16) compared with CON participants.
Our findings provide important validation of interhemispheric abnormalities in BD patients. The novel finding in HR subjects with recurrent MDD – a group at particular risk of future hypo/manic episodes – suggests that this may potentially represent a trait marker for BD, though this will need to be confirmed in longitudinal follow-up studies.
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.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with elevated risk for metabolic syndrome (MetS). However, the direction of this association is not yet established, as most prior studies employed cross-sectional designs. The primary goal of this study was to evaluate bidirectional associations between PTSD and MetS using a longitudinal design.
A total of 1355 male and female veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan underwent PTSD diagnostic assessments and their biometric profiles pertaining to MetS were extracted from the electronic medical record at two time points (spanning ~2.5 years, n = 971 at time 2).
The prevalence of MetS among veterans with PTSD was just under 40% at both time points and was significantly greater than that for veterans without PTSD; the prevalence of MetS among those with PTSD was also elevated relative to age-matched population estimates. Cross-lagged panel models revealed that PTSD severity predicted subsequent increases in MetS severity (β = 0.08, p = 0.002), after controlling for initial MetS severity, but MetS did not predict later PTSD symptoms. Logistic regression results suggested that for every 10 PTSD symptoms endorsed at time 1, the odds of a subsequent MetS diagnosis increased by 56%.
Results highlight the substantial cardiometabolic concerns of young veterans with PTSD and raise the possibility that PTSD may predispose individuals to accelerated aging, in part, manifested clinically as MetS. This demonstrates the need to identify those with PTSD at greatest risk for MetS and to develop interventions that improve both conditions.
Receiving an education is essential for children living in poverty to fulfil their potential. Success in the early years of schooling is important as children who repeat grade one are particularly at risk for future dropout. We examined early life factors associated with grade repetition through logistic regression and explored reasons for repeating a grade through parent report. In 2012–2014 we re-enrolled children aged 7–11 years in rural KwaZulu-Natal who had been part of an early life intervention. Of the 894 children included, 43.1% had repeated a grade, of which 62.9% were boys. Higher maternal education (aOR 0.44; 95% CI 0.2–0.9) and being further along in the birth order (aOR 0.46; 95% CI 0.3–0.9) reduced the odds of grade repetition. In addition, maternal HIV status had the strongest effect on grade repetition for girls (aOR 2.17; 95% CI 1.3–3.8), whereas for boys, it was a fridge in the household (aOR 0.59; 95% CI 0.4–1.0). Issues with school readiness was the most common reason for repeating a grade according to parental report (126/385, 32.7%), while school disruptions was an important reason among HIV-exposed boys. Further research is needed to elucidate the pathways through which HIV affects girls’ educational outcomes and potentially impacts on disrupted schooling for boys. Our results also highlight the importance of preparation for schooling in the early years of life; future research could focus on gaining a better understanding of mechanisms by which to improve early school success, including increased quality of reception year and investigating the protective effect of older siblings.
To identify predictive factors and mortality of patients with influenza admitted to intensive care units (ICU) we carried out a prospective cohort study of patients hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed influenza in adult ICUs in a network of Canadian hospitals between 2006 and 2012. There were 626 influenza-positive patients admitted to ICUs over the six influenza seasons, representing 17·9% of hospitalized influenza patients, 3·1/10 000 hospital admissions. Variability occurred in admission rate and proportion of hospital influenza patients who were admitted to ICUs (proportion range by year: 11·7–29·4%; 21·3% in the 2009–2010 pandemic). In logistic regression models ICU patients were younger during the pandemic and post-pandemic period, and more likely to be obese than hospital non-ICU patients. Influenza B accounted for 14·2% of all ICU cases and had a similar ICU admission rate as influenza A. Influenza-related mortality was 17·8% in ICU patients compared to 2·0% in non-ICU patients.
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.
Fluoroquinolone use before tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis delays the time to diagnosis and treatment, and increases the risk of fluoroquinolone-resistant TB and death. Ascertainment of fluoroquinolone exposure could identify such high-risk patients. We compared four methods of ascertaining fluoroquinolone exposure in the 6 months prior to TB diagnosis in culture-confirmed TB patients in Tennessee from January 2007 to December 2009. The four methods included a simple questionnaire administered to all TB suspects by health department personnel (FQ-Form), an in-home interview conducted by research staff, outpatient and inpatient medical record review, and TennCare pharmacy database review. Of 177 TB patients included, 72 (41%) received fluoroquinolones during the 6 months before TB diagnosis. Fluoroquinolone exposure determined by review of inpatient and outpatient medical records was considered the gold standard for comparison. The FQ-Form had 61% [95% confidence interval (CI) 48–73] sensitivity and 93% (95% CI 85–98) specificity (agreement 79%, kappa = 0·56) while the in-home interview had 28% (95% CI 18–40) sensitivity and 99% (94–100%) specificity (agreement 68%, kappa = 0·29). A simple questionnaire administered by health department personnel identified fluoroquinolone exposure before TB diagnosis with moderate reliability.