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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.
We report the development of a radio-linked interferometer which uses the 64-m telescope at Parkes, NSW, and one of the NASA antennas (64-m or 34-m) at Tidbinbilla, ACT. With a baseline of approximately 275 km, this is the world’s longest real-time interferometer; it will be usable at frequencies of 1.6, 2.3, 8.4, and 22 GHz to give angular resolutions of 0.13, 0.09, 0.03, and 0.01 arcsec respectively. The interferometer has already operated successfully in a limited mode and is expected to become fully operational in its initial configuration by September 1985. Operation at a range of frequencies and with progressive enhancements is planned up to the commissioning of the Australia Telescope in 1988.
The Parkes-MIT-NRAO (PMN) 4.85 GHz continuum radio survey of the southern sky was undertaken in 1990 June and November. This survey was performed on the Parkes 64 m telescope using the NRAO seven-beam receiver. A point-source catalogue of 36,640 radio sources has been produced for the Southern Survey zone −87.5° ≤δ ≤ −37° and for the Tropical Survey zone −29° ≤δ ≤ −9.5°. The flux limit of this survey varies with declination and is typically about 30 mJy.
We have begun to cross-correlate the PMN data with sources contained in catalogues compiled at radio, and other, wavelengths. We have found associations for 96% of the PKSCAT90 2700 MHz database sources, and 95% of the Molonglo 408 MHz Catalogue sources within in the PMN Southern and Tropical Survey zones.
A program to identify the optical counterparts of PMN Southern Survey point sources, S4.85 GHz ≥ 70 mJy, using the COSMOS database, is under way. To facilitate this programme we are improving the positional accuracy of PMN sources with observations made at the Australia Telescope National Facility compact array. We have developed a new “snapshot” mode of observing to process the large number of sources (~ 8000) in our sample. It is possible to obtain accurate positions from three snapshots efficiently with a total integration of < 3 minutes.
Digital signal processing is one of many valuable tools for suppressing unwanted signals or inter-ference. Building hardware processing engines seems to be the way to best implement some classes of interference suppression but is, unfortunately, expensive and time-consuming, especially if several miti-gation techniques need to be compared. Simulations can be useful, but are not a substitute for real data. CSIRO’s Australia Telescope National Facility has recently commenced a ‘software radio telescope’ project designed to fill the gap between dedicated hardware processors and pure simulation. In this approach, real telescope data are recorded coherently, then processed offline. This paper summarises the current contents of a freely available database of base band recorded data that can be used to experiment with signal processing solutions. It includes data from the following systems: single dish, multi-feed receiver; single dish with reference antenna; and an array of six 22 m antennas with and without a reference antenna. Astronomical sources such as OH masers, pulsars and continuum sources subject to interfering signals were recorded. The interfering signals include signals from the US Global Positioning System (GPS) and its Russian equivalent (GLONASS), television, microwave links, a low-Earth-orbit satellite, various other transmitters, and signals leaking from local telescope systems with fast clocks. The data are available on compact disk, allowing use in general purpose computers or as input to laboratory hardware prototypes.
We present the design of, and a first analysis of data from, the atmospheric seeing monitor at the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA). The seeing monitor has been operational almost continuously since 2004 May and every 10min delivers a measurement of the atmospheric phase stability at the observatory. Its measurements can be used by observers to help in deciding whether it is worth carrying out observations at millimetre wavelengths or whether a longer-wavelength backup project should be observed. We present a statistical analysis of the data recorded since 2004 September to characterize the annual variations in atmospheric path length fluctuations. Our analysis shows that in terms of phase stability, nights in spring, summer, and autumn are as good as, or better than, days in winter. We also find that the data imply that the turbulence in the lower few hundred metres of the atmosphere is predominantly responsible for the atmospheric seeing.