ASKAP Survey Science Projects

During ASKAP’s first five years of operation at least 75% of its time will be used for large Survey Science Projects, each needing more than 1,500 hours to complete and all designed to make use of the telescope’s unique capabilities.

CSIRO implemented a three-stage process to select the major projects that will be the first to use the new telescope. The first stage was submission of expressions of interest, which closed on 15 December 2008. The second stage was submission and selection of proposals, which was completed in September 2009. The ten successful projects that emerged from stage two of the process, representing 363 investigators from 131 institutions, have been invited to proceed to the third stage, the design studies phase.

Read more on the outcomes of the process to select the ASKAP Survey Science Projects [1.2MB PDF].

A brief outline of all ten ASKAP Survey Science Projects is given below.

Evolutionary Map of the Universe (EMU)
Principal Investigator: Ray Norris (CSIRO)
EMU is a deep (10 μJy/beam rms) radio continuum survey of 75% of the entire sky. EMU will probe typical star forming galaxies to redshift 1, powerful starbursts to even greater redshifts, Active Galactic Nuclei to the edge of the Universe, as well as undoubtedly discovering new classes of rare objects. The key science goals for EMU are to trace the evolution of star forming galaxies and massive black holes throughout the history of the Universe and to explore large-scale structure. EMU will create the most sensitive wide-field atlas yet made, and provide a long-lasting legacy survey. Visit the EMU website.

Widefield ASKAP L-Band Legacy All-Sky Blind Survey (WALLABY)
Principal Investigators: Baerbel Koribalski (CSIRO) and Lister Staveley-Smith (ICRAR/University of Western Australia)
WALLABY is an extragalactic neutral hydrogen survey over 75% of the entire sky and will detect up to 500,000 galaxies to a redshift of 0.26. The fundamental aims of WALLABY are to examine the HI properties and large-scale distribution of these galaxies in order to study galaxy formation and the missing satellite problem in the Local Group, evolution and star formation of galaxies, the role of mergers and galaxy interactions, the HI mass function and its variation with galaxy density, the physical processes governing the distribution and evolution of cool gas at low redshift, cosmological parameters relating to gas-rich galaxies and the nature of the cosmic web. WALLABY will provide the largest, most homogeneous HI sample of galaxies yet made, and will be an important pathfinder for key SKA science. Visit the WALLABY website.

The First Large Absorption Survey in HI (FLASH)
Principal Investigator: Elaine Sadler (University of Sydney)
FLASH is a blind HI absorption-line survey that uses background radio continuum sources to identify and characterise foreground neutral hydrogen. FLASH science outcomes are focused on both the neutral gas content of galaxies and the cosmic HI mass density in the redshift range 0.5 < z < 1.0 where the HI emission line is too weak to be detectable in individual galaxies. The observations will increase the total number of absorption line systems by an estimated two orders of magnitude, representing a significant data set to study gas assembly and galaxy formation during a time in the history of the Universe that is largely unstudied thus far. Visit the FLASH website.

An ASKAP Survey for Variables and Slow Transients (VAST)
Principal Investigators: Tara Murphy (University of Sydney) and Shami Chatterjee (Cornell University)
VAST gives unprecedented opportunities to investigate the sky at radio wavelengths for transients with a timescale as short as 5 seconds. ASKAP’s wide-field survey capabilities will enable the discovery and investigation of variable and transient phenomena from the local to the cosmological including flare stars, intermittent pulsars, X-ray binaries, magnetars, extreme scattering events, intra-day variables, radio supernovae and the orphan afterglows of gamma-ray bursts. VAST will probe unexplored regions of phase space where new classes of transient sources may be detected. Visit the VAST website.

The Galactic ASKAP Spectral Line Survey (GASKAP)
Principal Investigators: John Dickey (University of Tasmania) and Naomi McClure-Griffiths (CSIRO)
GASKAP is a high spectral resolution survey of the HI and OH lines in the Milky Way and Magellanic Systems. Compared with existing data, GASKAP will achieve about an order of magnitude improvement in both brightness sensitivity and in angular resolution. GASKAP will detect and map OH masers from evolved stars and star formation regions, diffuse emission from molecular and atomic clouds, HI absorption toward background continuum sources and the structures in the gas that trace the effects of stellar winds and supernova explosions. The Magellanic Clouds will show all these processes as they appear in two other, very different environments. GASKAP will provide stunning images of the interstellar medium that will be indispensible for astronomers working at other wavelengths. Visit the GASKAP website.

Polarization Sky Survey of the Universe's Magnetism (POSSUM)
Principal Investigators: Bryan Gaensler (University of Sydney), RussTaylor (University of Calgary) and Tom Landecker (Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory)
Understanding the Universe is impossible without understanding magnetic fields. Magnetic fields are key to the non-thermal Universe, yet it is unclear how large-scale magnetic fields are generated and maintained. POSSUM will use radio source polarization, in particular the technique of rotation measure (RM) synthesis, to perform a wide-field survey that will yield a grid of RMs over a substantial fraction of the sky. The science outcomes of POSSUM will revolutionise our understanding of the ordered components of the Milky Way’s magnetic field, test dynamo and other models of magnetic field generation in galaxies and clusters, and carry out a comprehensive census of magnetic fields as a function of redshift in galaxies, active galactic nuclei, galaxy clusters and the intergalactic medium. Visit the POSSUM website.

The Commensal Real-time ASKAP Fast Transients survey (CRAFT)
Principal Investigator: Keith Bannister (CSIRO), Jean-Pierre Macquart (ICRAR/Curtin) and Ryan Shannon (ICRAR/Curtin)
CRAFT is a purely commensal survey for transient sources with timescales shorter than 5 seconds. Short-timescale transients are associated with the most energetic and brightest single events in the Universe. They provide Nature’s ultimate laboratory; their emission is generated by matter under extreme conditions whose properties probe physical regimes far transcending the range achievable in terrestrial experiments. Fast timescale transients open new vistas on the physics of high brightness temperature objects, extreme states of matter and the physics of strong gravitational fields. In addition, the detection of extragalactic transients affords us an entirely new and sensitive probe on the huge reservoir of baryons in the intergalactic medium. For more information visit .

Deep Investigations of Neutral Gas Origins (DINGO)
Principal Investigator: Martin Meyer (ICRAR/University of Western Australia)
DINGO will study the evolution of neutral hydrogen (HI) from the current epoch to redshift about 0.5, providing a legacy dataset spanning cosmologically representative volumes. Measurements will be made of key cosmological distributions, including ?HI, the HI mass function and the halo occupation distribution function. ASKAP data will be combined with optical data to enable a thorough study of the co-evolution of the stellar, baryonic and dark matter content of galaxies. Visit the DINGO website.

The High Resolution Components of ASKAP: Meeting the Long Baseline Specifications for the SKA (VLBI)
Principal Investigator: Steven Tingay (ICRAR/Curtin University of Technology)
ASKAP, in combination with the existing Australian Long Baseline Array, high speed data recording equipment, innovative software correlation facilities and high speed data transport networks, provides a high resolution capability that is unmatched in terms of SKA demonstrators around the world. Science outcomes include proper motion and parallax of pulsars, high resolution imaging of Active Galactic Nuclei, follow-up of transient radio sources and distances and proper motions of OH masers.

Compact Objects with ASKAP: Surveys and Timing (COAST)
Principal Investigator: Ingrid Stairs (University of British Columbia)
COAST will undertake an observational program of pulsar timing aimed at high profile issues in astrophysics. This includes limits on, or the detection of, a background of gravitational waves, stringent tests of the predictions of General Relativity and other theories of strong gravity and the studies of binary stellar evolution. In addition to pulsar timing, blind searches for pulsars will also be carried out which will lead to a better understanding of the Galactic neutron star population, the pulsar emission mechanism and the structure and magnetic field of the Galaxy.

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