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The diatomic free radical methylidyne (CH) is an important tracer of the interstellar medium, and the study of it was critical to our earliest understanding of star formation. Although it is detectable across the electromagnetic spectrum, observations at radio frequencies allow for a study of the kinematics of the diffuse and dense gas in regions of new star formation. There is only two published (single-dish) detections of the low-frequency hyperfine transitions between 700 and 725 MHz, despite the precise frequencies being known. These low-frequency transitions are of particular interest as they are shown in laboratory experiments to be more sensitive to magnetic fields than their high-frequency counterparts (with more pronounced Zeeman splitting). In this work, we take advantage of the radio quiet environment and increased resolution of the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) over previous searches to make a pilot interferometric search for CH at 724.7883 MHz (the strongest of the hyperfine transitions) in RCW 38. We found the band is clean of radio frequency interference, but we did not detect the signal from this transition to a five-sigma sensitivity limit of 0.09 Jy, which corresponds to a total column density upper limit of 1.9
cm–2 for emission and 1.3
cm–2 for absorption with an optical depth limit of 0.95. Achieved within 5 h of integration, this column density sensitivity should have been adequate to detect the emission or absorption in RCW 38, if it had similar properties to the only previous reported detections in W51.
We describe an ultra-wide-bandwidth, low-frequency receiver recently installed on the Parkes radio telescope. The receiver system provides continuous frequency coverage from 704 to 4032 MHz. For much of the band (
), the system temperature is approximately 22 K and the receiver system remains in a linear regime even in the presence of strong mobile phone transmissions. We discuss the scientific and technical aspects of the new receiver, including its astronomical objectives, as well as the feed, receiver, digitiser, and signal processor design. We describe the pipeline routines that form the archive-ready data products and how those data files can be accessed from the archives. The system performance is quantified, including the system noise and linearity, beam shape, antenna efficiency, polarisation calibration, and timing stability.
Breakthrough Listen is a 10-yr initiative to search for signatures of technologies created by extraterrestrial civilisations at radio and optical wavelengths. Here, we detail the digital data recording system deployed for Breakthrough Listen observations at the 64-m aperture CSIRO Parkes Telescope in New South Wales, Australia. The recording system currently implements two modes: a dual-polarisation, 1.125-GHz bandwidth mode for single-beam observations, and a 26-input, 308-MHz bandwidth mode for the 21-cm multibeam receiver. The system is also designed to support a 3-GHz single-beam mode for the forthcoming Parkes ultra-wideband feed. In this paper, we present details of the system architecture, provide an overview of hardware and software, and present initial performance results.
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