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We describe the motivation and design details of the ‘Phase II’ upgrade of the Murchison Widefield Array radio telescope. The expansion doubles to 256 the number of antenna tiles deployed in the array. The new antenna tiles enhance the capabilities of the Murchison Widefield Array in several key science areas. Seventy-two of the new tiles are deployed in a regular configuration near the existing array core. These new tiles enhance the surface brightness sensitivity of the array and will improve the ability of the Murchison Widefield Array to estimate the slope of the Epoch of Reionisation power spectrum by a factor of ∼3.5. The remaining 56 tiles are deployed on long baselines, doubling the maximum baseline of the array and improving the array u, v coverage. The improved imaging capabilities will provide an order of magnitude improvement in the noise floor of Murchison Widefield Array continuum images. The upgrade retains all of the features that have underpinned the Murchison Widefield Array’s success (large field of view, snapshot image quality, and pointing agility) and boosts the scientific potential with enhanced imaging capabilities and by enabling new calibration strategies.
The merits of solar coronal at metric-wavelength (MW) radio have long been recognised (e.g. Pick and Vilmer, 2008). High-fidelity solar radio imaging at these frequencies has however remained challenging. On the one hand, dealing with the small spectral and temporal scales of variation in solar radio emission requires a data product capable of tracking the emission simultaneously across time, frequency and morphology. The Fourier imaging nature of interferometry, on the other hand, severely limits the instrumental ability to gather sufficient information to do this with the required fidelity and resolution. Benefiting from the enormous advances in technology the new generation of instruments, like the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA; Tingay et al. (2013), Bowman et al. (2013)), represent a quantum leap in our ability to gather data suitable for radio solar physics.
At low radio frequencies the solar corona is very dynamic in both spectral and temporal domains. To capture the fine details of this complex dynamics, imaging studies at high temporal and spectral resolution are necessary. The advent of the new instruments like the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA; Tingay et al. 2013, Bowman et al. 2013), is now making this possible.
A theory for the source of free energy for the Langmuir waves producing Type II bursts is presented. It is shown that electrons accelerated at the Type II shock naturally develop a distribution function with an abrupt cutoff at a characteristic minimum parallel velocity (a ‘cutoff distribution) in a limited spatial volume ahead of the shock, irrespective of the acceleration process active at the shock. The long duration, narrow bandwidth Type II radiation is then explained in terms of Langmuir waves produced by a cutoff distribution. The theory also accounts in a natural way for split-band Type II bursts and herringbone bursts.
Significant new opportunities for astrophysics and cosmology have been identified at low radio frequencies. The Murchison Widefield Array is the first telescope in the southern hemisphere designed specifically to explore the low-frequency astronomical sky between 80 and 300 MHz with arcminute angular resolution and high survey efficiency. The telescope will enable new advances along four key science themes, including searching for redshifted 21-cm emission from the EoR in the early Universe; Galactic and extragalactic all-sky southern hemisphere surveys; time-domain astrophysics; and solar, heliospheric, and ionospheric science and space weather. The Murchison Widefield Array is located in Western Australia at the site of the planned Square Kilometre Array (SKA) low-band telescope and is the only low-frequency SKA precursor facility. In this paper, we review the performance properties of the Murchison Widefield Array and describe its primary scientific objectives.
Type II and III solar radio bursts are associated with shock waves and streams of energetic electrons, respectively, which drive plasma waves and radio emission at multiples of the electron plasma frequency as they move out from the corona into the interplanetary medium. Analogous plasma waves and radiation are observed from the foreshock region upstream of Earth's bow shock. In situ spacecraft observations in the solar wind have enabled major progress to be made in developing quantitative theories for these phenomena that are consistent with available data. Similar processes are believed responsible for radio emissions at 2–3 kHz that originate in the distant heliosphere, from where the solar wind interacts with the local interstellar medium. The primary goal of this paper is to review the observations and theories for these four classes of emissions, focusing on recent progress in developing detailed theories for the plasma waves and radiation in the source regions. The secondary goal is to introduce and review stochastic growth theory, a recent theory which appears quantitatively able to explain the wave observations in type III bursts and Earth's foreshock and is a natural theory to apply to type II bursts, the outer heliospheric emissions, and perhaps astrophysicalemissions.
Beam-driven Langmuir waves in the solar wind are generated just above the electron plasma frequency, which fluctuates in the inhomogeneous solar wind plasma. Consequently, propagating Langmuir waves encounter regions in which the wave frequency is less than the local plasma frequency, where they can be reflected, mode converted to transverse electromagnetic waves, and trapped in density wells. The aim here is to investigate Langmuir wave reflection and mode conversion at a linear density gradient for typical solar wind parameters. It is shown that higher mode conversion efficiencies are possible than previously calculated, but that mode conversion occurs in a smaller region of parameter space. In addition, the possibility of detecting mode conversion with in situ spacecraft Langmuir wave observations is discussed.
Lower hybrid (LH) drive involves the resonant acceleration of electrons parallel to the magnetic field by lower hybrid waves, often driven by ions with ring or ring-beam distributions. Charge-exchange between hydrogen atoms and protons with relative motions perpendicular to the magnetic field leads to ring distributions of pickup ions, with concomitant perpedicular ion ‘heating’. This paper considers the combination of LH drive and charge-exchange in the outflow regions of magnetic reconnection sites in the solar chromosphere and lower corona, showing that the combined mechanism naturally predicts major perpendicular ion heating and parallel electron acceleration, and exploring the mechanism’s relevance to specific solar reconnection phenomena, heating of the solar atmosphere, and production of energetic electrons that generate solar radio emission. Although primarily qualitative, analysis shows that the mechanism has numerous attractive aspects, including perpendicular ion heating that increases linearly with ion mass, parallel electron acceleration, predicted ion and electron temperatures that span those of the chromosphere and lower corona, and parallel electron speeds spanning those for type III bursts. Applications to chromospheric explosive events and low-lying active regions, and to heating the chromosphere, appear particularly suitable. Sweeping of plasma frozen-in to chromospheric and coronal magnetic field lines across the neutral atmosphere due to motions of sub-photospheric fields represents an obvious and important generalisation of the mechanism away from reconnection sites. The requirements that the neutrals not be strongly collisionally coupled to the plasma and that sufficient neutrals are available for charge-exchange restricts the LH drive mechanism to above the photosphere but below where the corona is essentially fully ionised. LH drive may thus be important in heating the chromosphere and low corona while other heating mechanisms dominate at higher altitudes. Although attractive thus far, quantitative analyses of LH drive in these contexts are necessary before definitive conclusions are reached.
The theory for fundamental plasma emission by the three-wave processes L ± S→T (where L, S and T denote Langmuir, ion sound and transverse waves, respectively) is developed. Kinematic constraints on the characteristics and growth lengths of waves participating in the wave processes are identified. In addition the rates, path-integrated wave temperatures, and limits on the brightness temperature of the radiation are derived.
The theory for third and higher harmonic plasma emission by the weak turbulence (or random phase) process L + T′→T (where L denotes a Langmuir wave, and T and T′ denote transverse waves) is developed. Kinematic constraints on the characteristics and growth lengths of waves participating in the wave processes are identified. The cases of L waves produced either directly by a streaming instability, or by the decay L→L′+S (S is an ion sound wave) of L waves generated by a streaming instability, are considered. Limits on the brightness temperature of the radiation are determined, and expressions for the growth rate and path-integrated wave temperatures are derived.
The theory for second harmonic plasma emission by the weak turbulence (or random phase) processes L + L ± S→T, proceeding in two three-wave steps, L ± S→L′ and L + L′→T, where L, S and T denote Langmuir. ion sound and electromagnetic waves, respectively, is developed. Kinematic constraints on the characteristics and growth lengths of waves participating in the wave processes, and constraints on the characteristics of the source plasma, are derived. Limits on the brightness temperature of the radiation and the levels of the L′ and S waves are determined. Expressions for the growth rates and path-integrated wave temperatures are derived for simple models of the wave spectra and source plasma.
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