ASKAP team gets even 'busier'

A group photo taken during the recent ASKAP Busy Week.

April 2015

Following the successful weekly ‘Busy Thursdays’ held throughout 2014, the ASKAP Commissioning and Early Science (ACES) team has ramped up commissioning work to monthly ‘Busy Weeks’.

The team has always been (physically) spread far and wide, with members working with each other remotely from locations in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, and Canberra. While an advantages of ASKAP’s remote operation means team members don’t need to be in the same location to collaborate, the regular busy weeks are a good opportunity to come together and address the challenges associated with commissioning a brand new instrument.

So far this year the ‘Busy Weeks’ have been used to work on the preparation of ACES technical memos as well as imaging and deconvolution algorithms with the six-antenna ASKAP array, BETA (Boolardy Engineering Test Array).

Most recently, the April Busy Week focused on beam-forming, measuring, modelling and efficiency.

ASKAP’s ability to synthesise the antennas’ primary beams is not only what gives the telescope a novel edge over other facilities and defines it as a survey telescope, but it is also what makes for interesting commissioning challenges. Throughout the busy week, the team puzzled over the apparent shift of beams on the sky relative to expectations, compared the results of single-port beams measurements with independent polarimetric assessment, and ran experiments to address questions related to using the Sun’s centre for beamforming.

The Busy Week also provides the team an opportunity to further progress the preparation of the first ASKAP papers, using commissioning data from BETA to produce initial science results.

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