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20th of August 2018
Parkes Ultra-Wideband Low vs. Multi-beam
by Stefan Oslowski
Oslowski et al. are observing the millisecond pulsar J1933-6211 using the newly deployed Ultra Wideband Low (UWL) receiver and are hoping to measure the mass and determine the orbit of the pulsar by measuring an addition to the travel path of the photons. This extra delay (the so-called "Shapiro Delay") is caused by the space-time deformation of the companion, which was first predicted by Einstein. This project is made possible by continual development and deployment of new and improved hardware at the Parkes Radio Telescope. It would have been very difficult with the previous generation of instrumentation. In this way, the famous Dish remains competitive decades after its construction. Somehow, it's like we have a new telescope every decade, with new abilities and scientific powers.

The two left panels show an observation using the UWL receiver and the new Medusa backend while the right two panels show how the same observation would look like if recorded with the previous generation of receiver/backend. The top panels show the phase-resolved light curve of the pulsar, while the bottom shows the intensity of the radiation as a function of radio frequency. Thanks to the new receiver, we can not only record the signal across a much broader range of frequencies but also capture more of the bright "scintils" - ranges of frequencies which are amplified by interstellar scintillation. This phenomenon is similar to stars twinkling at night.

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