CASS and AAL announce PAF funding

Looking up at the apex of an ASKAP antenna.

5 June 2014

A joint announcement from Lewis Ball (Chief, CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science) and Mark McAuley (CEO, Astronomy Australia Ltd).

CSIRO and Astronomy Australia Ltd (AAL) are pleased to announce that funding has been secured to enable the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) to be equipped with a total of 30 Mark II Phased Array Feeds (PAFs), six of which will be installed on the central BETA antennas that are currently fitted with Mark I PAFs.

Installing Mark II PAFs on BETA antennas will introduce a number of short baselines that will significantly enhance the surface brightness sensitivity of the array, thus boosting surveys of neutral hydrogen emission from the Milky Way and nearby galaxies.

This has been made possible through an agreement between AAL and CSIRO in which AAL is allocating $6M for ASKAP early operations and CSIRO will provide a matching contribution to construct, install and commission six additional Mark II PAFs.

This agreement brings the total number of funded Mark II PAFs to 30, emphasising CSIRO’s continued commitment to the success of ASKAP.

CSIRO intends to engage with the community regarding the order in which to roll-out the Mark II PAFs numbers 13-30. The expected timeline for community consultation and deployment is given below:

  • 21 October 2014: All-day community workshop to discuss options for the order in which ASKAP antennas are fitted with Mark II PAFs #13-30, including when the BETA Mark I PAFs will be relocated from their locations during commissioning (further details of the workshop will follow).
  • April 2015: Roll-out plan for ASKAP Mark II PAFs #13-30 is finalised, taking into account community input.
  • By mid-2018: Installation of 30 Mark II PAFs, including six on the central antennas, is completed.

CSIRO and AAL thank the Commonwealth government for its support of ASKAP through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) and the Collaborative Research Infrastructure Scheme (CRIS) programs.

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