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24th of October 2022
CryoPAF testing at Parkes
For over two decades, the flagship receiver on the Parkes 64m radiotelescope, Murriyang, was the 13-beam multi-beam receiver which enabled observations in the 20-cm wavelength band. Over its lifetime it produced high-impact science in both Galactic (pulsars, Galactic structure) and extragalactic (fast radio bursts, external galaxies) research. The successor to the 20cm multi-beam receiver, funded in part by an Australian Research Council Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) grant, is a cryogenically cooled Phased Array Feed (cryo-PAF). Compared with the multi-beam receiver, the cryoPAF will provide significant improvement in six key areas: (1) improved receiver noise; (2) wider field of view; (3) full ("Nyquist") sampling of the focal plane; (4) wide front-end bandwidth; (5) greater aperture efficiency; and (6) reduced spectral baseline ripple. Taken together, these improvements represent a significant increase in survey speed (the time it takes to survey a portion of the sky). The image above shows the cryoPAF at the Parkes observatory last week for its first on-ground tests. This week will see a trial installation in the focus cabin before the cryoPAF returns to Sydney for further work, before returning to Parkes around next April for its full installation. (Image credit: Tricia Trim)

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