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1st of May 2018
System checks with Voyager 2
Price et al. have recently described the wide-bandwidth digital instrumentation being used for the Breakthrough Listen Search for Intelligent Life with the Parkes 64-m Telescope. The recording system currently implements two recording modes: a dual-polarization, 1.125 GHz bandwidth mode for single beam observations, and a 26-input, 308 MHz bandwidth mode for the 21-cm multibeam receiver.

As one of the tests to characterise the performace of the system, the Breakthrough Listen team used the Dish to track the Voyager 2 spacecraft. Voyager 2 is a NASA space probe that was launched on 1977 August 20. Now at a distance of over 116 astronomical units (about 17 billion km) from Earth, Voyager 2 is one of the most distant human-made objects, but its narrowband telemetry signal can still be detected. Voyager 2 was observed on 2016 October 10 using the Parkes "Mars" receiver (8.1– 8.5 GHz), with 5 minutes of data recorded and the spectrum above derived with 2.79 Hz resolution. The figure above shows the detected telemetry signal with the carrier, and upper and lower sidebands all clearly visible.

The detection of the fast radio burst FRB 180301, featured in a recent ADAP is also described in detail in the paper.

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