ASKAP Commissioning Update

The ASKAP Commissioning Update is a regular, informal newsletter reporting on activities of interest to the astronomical community including the progress of ASKAP commissioning, new results and challenges, bugs in the system, releases of new software and availability of test data files.

It does not replace any of the formal communications about ASKAP or SKA, but aims to be a more “earthy” dissemination of information about ASKAP's progress from the astronomer's perspective.

To receive notification of online publication of each new edition, please e-mail ASKAP Project Scientist Dr Aidan Hotan to subscribe.

Issue 50, June 2021 [0.4MB PDF]
In this issue we report on work to improve ASKAP’s digital firmware, Pilot Survey Phase II quality gate processing, CASDA updates due this month, and finally highlight the latest work on holography primary beam correction.

Issue 49, May 2021 [0.3MB PDF]
In this issue we report on factors impacting the time scale of Pilot Surveys Phase II, the latest improvements to ASKAPsoft, continuum image quality and CASDA commensality.

Issue 48, April 2021 [0.2MB PDF]
In this issue we report the commencement of quality gate observations for Pilot Surveys Phase II and provide an update on processing priorities. We also give an update on the impact of tropical cyclone Seroja.

Issue 47, March 2021 [0.5MB PDF]
In this issue we discuss the challenges and benefits of commensal observing, report on the latest technical test progress and provide updated information on data processing for Pilot Surveys Phase I.

Issue 46, February 2021 [0.5MB PDF]
In this issue we describe the latest plans for technical test observations and progress towards some of the key development goals required for Pilot Surveys Phase II.

Issue 45, January 2021 [0.5MB PDF]
In this issue, we give an update on Observatory projects, Pilot Surveys Phase I processing, and Pilot Surveys Phase II preparation.

Issue 44, November 2020 [0.5MB PDF]
In this issue, we review the year, give updates on consolidation development and Pilot Surveys Phase II, and describe plans for the holiday period.

Issue 43,October 2020 [0.5MB PDF]
In this issue, we celebrate the SWAG-X continuum data release, provide an update on development work, and look forward to Pilot Surveys Phase II.

Issue 42, September 2020 [0.5MB PDF]
In this issue, we report the resumption of telescope operations, outcomes from the community workshop to plan Pilot Surveys Phase II and an impending upgrade for the ASKAP ingest cluster at Pawsey.

Issue 41, August 2020 [0.5MB PDF]
In this issue, we describe planning for Pilot Surveys Phase II, give an update on RACS -- the Rapid ASKAP Continuum Survey, and describe the central building fire suppression system.

Issue 40, July 2020 [0.5MB PDF]
In this issue, we describe new features available in the latest update to ASKAP’s science data archive. We also report on improvements to ASKAPsoft and the ASKAPpipeline that have been prioritised due to pilot survey phase I feedback.

Issue 39, June 2020 [0.5MB PDF]
In this issue, we report development activities during the first month of post-Pilot consolidation time, provide an update on processing of Pilot Survey Phase I data and the Rapid ASKAP Continuum Survey.

Issue 38, May 2020 [0.5MB PDF]
In this landmark issue, we report completion of all pilot survey phase I observations, release of WALLABY and upload of VAST pilot survey data, and plans for a second phase of pilot surveys to commence late this year.

Issue 37, April 2020 [0.5MB PDF]
In this issue, we discuss contingency plans associated with COVID-19, including the need to conclude pilot survey observations as soon as possible. We also provide an update on recent development activity and system improvements.

Issue 36, March 2020 [0.5MB PDF]
In this issue, we discuss progress on pilot surveys, plans for improved data processing workflows, plans for a coherent fast transient detection system and an extended period of testing to narrow down the cause of low-level correlator data loss.

Issue 35, February 2020 [0.5MB PDF]
In this issue, we discuss progress on pilot survey observations and plans for development of telescope features this year.

Issue 34, November 2019 [0.3MB PDF]
This issue includes updates on the ASKAP Pilot Surveys, the RACS survey, searches for counterparts to LIGO events, the eROSITA collaboration, the OzSKA 2019 meeting, ASKAP-X, and the new disk storage buffer for ASKAP data capture and processing.

Issue 33, October 2019 [0.2MB PDF]
In this issue, we report on the availability of a new disk storage buffer for ASKAP data capture and processing, progress on pilot surveys and the first detection of a Fast Radio Burst in commensal mode during an EMU pilot observation.

Issue 32, September 2019 [0.5MB PDF]
In this issue, we report on ASKAP pilot survey observing and data processing, outcomes from a busy week aimed at planning the Rapid ASKAP Continuum Survey data release and preparations for the first ASKAP-X project planning session.

Issue 31, August 2019 [0.5MB PDF]
In this issue, we report on the commencement of ASKAP pilot surveys, processing and quality control for the Rapid ASKAP Continuum Survey and a new project structure for development and improvements to ASKAP over the next three years.

Issue 30, July 2019 [0.5MB PDF]
In this issue, we report early results from imaging the Rapid ASKAP Continuum Survey (RACS). We also describe the latest data release on CASDA and improvements to spectral index measurements derived from Taylor term imaging in ASKAPsoft.

Issue 29, June 2019 [0.5MB PDF]
In this issue, we report on the public release of data from the first science test field observed with the full ASKAP array. We also discuss the planning process for pilot surveys and the criteria for determining when they will begin.

Issue 28, May 2019 [0.5MB PDF] 
In this issue, we report on the first iteration of the Rapid ASKAP Continuum Survey, designed to provide a new reference catalogue for radio sources in the Southern hemisphere. We also discuss the progress of test observations for pilot surveys.

Issue 27, April 2019 [0.5MB PDF]
In this issue, we present the first single-beam image made with the full ASKAP array and introduce a set of milestones on the path to beginning survey operations.

Issue 26, March 2019 [0.5MB PDF]
In this issue, we report successful integration of the last 8 antennas into ASKAP. We have now obtained fringes to all 36 antennas and are conducting test observations with the full array before commencing pilot surveys.

Issue 25, February 2019 [0.5MB PDF]
In this issue, we report successful tests of fringe tracking per beam and frequency zoom modes. We also describe the first synchronisation of ASKAP’s digital electronics across the full array and discuss plans to integrate the last 8 antennas.

Issue 24, November 2018 [0.5MB PDF]
In this issue, we discuss integration of the final two control system features required for Array Release 3 and pilot surveys: fringe tracking per beam and frequency zooms. We also describe the first in a series of large-scale science data processing readiness tests.

Issue 23, October 2018 [0.5MB PDF]
In this issue, we report on the installation of the final hardware components needed to complete ASKAP’s 36 antennas. We also describe recent antenna performance tests, observations with the 28-antenna array and preparations for pilot surveys in 2019

Issue 22, September 2018 [0.5MB PDF]
In this issue, we report investigations into alternative beam-forming reference sources and ongoing efforts to release images from the first cosmology survey attempt.

Issue 21, August 2018 [0.5MB PDF]
In this issue, we report the successful integration of 12 additional antennas into ASKAP, for a total of 28. Since this exceeds the requirements for array release 3, we also discuss how a larger array will change the format of early science phase two.

Issue 20, July 2018 [0.5MB PDF]
In this issue, we describe observations designed to measure system performance parameters in advance of pilot survey planning. We also give an update on the work required to complete array release 3.

Issue 19, June 2018 [0.5MB PDF]
In this issue we present the first image of a calibrator source in the highest ASKAP frequency band. We also demonstrate improved holography measurements of primary beam shapes following a productive ACES busy week.

Issue 18, May 2018 [0.5MB PDF]
In this issue, we report the successful validation of ASKAP’s new fringe tracking system and describe the remaining work required to integrate it into the telescope. We also report on the progress of commissioning the on-dish calibration system and additions to the beam weights service.

Issue 17, April 2018  [0.5MB PDF]
In this issue, we report on recent tests of ASKAP’s new fringe tracking system using astronomical observations. We also describe several changes to the structure of the ASKAP commissioning team and how our operations staff will soon be more actively involved in early science

Issue 16, March 2018 [0.5MB PDF]
Issue 16 describes improvements that will be made to ensure optimal fixed-point precision is maintained throughout the digital signal path. We also outline several topics for discussion at the upcoming early science forum and SST PI meetings.

Issue 15, February 2018 [0.5MB PDF]
Issue 15 confirms that: source positions are now consistent with existing catalogues; gives a progress report on fringe rotator testing; announces the commencement of an EMU pilot survey; and describes a new storm monitoring system for the MRO.​

Issue 14, December 2017 [0.5MB PDF]
Issue 14 describes the likely origin of source position offsets that have impacted existing early science images. In addition, we report progress on commissioning the centralised fringe rotation system and plans for observing over the holiday period.​

Issue 13, November 2017 [0.5MB PDF]
Issue 13 reports on a breakthrough in data capture at Pawsey that has allowed routine operations with 16 antennas. In addition, we take a close look at the beam weights software framework that was recently deployed.​

Issue 12, October 2017 [0.5MB PDF]
Issue 12 details the work required to support operations beyond early science with more than 12 antennas. This includes updates to the fringe rotator control system and implementation of ASKAP’s real-time calibration service.​

Issue 11, September 2017 [0.5MB PDF]
Issue 11 describes some recent changes made to ASKAP's digital firmware in response to issues identified during commissioning, which will also improve the stability of the data acquistion system.

Issue 10, July 2017 [0.5MB PDF]
Issue 10 describes some of the preparatory work leading up to the first early science data release, along with several of the outstanding issues related to calibration and imaging.

Issue 9, July 2017 [0.5MB PDF]
Issue 9 resumes the series with a discussion of ongoing correlator stability improvements, on-dish calibration system commissioning and work on the antenna drive systems.    

Issue 8, November 2015 [1.1MB PDF]
Issue 8 resumes the series after a 15-month gap; its purpose is to inform the community about the recent advances in technical understanding of ASKAP's operation and performance, and includes a summary of all the Technical Memoranda that have been prepared since commissioning began.

Issue 7, July 2014 [3.0MB PDF]
Issue 7 features all the latest results from commissioning of the six-antenna ASKAP test array, BETA (Boolardy Engineering Test Array), including simultaneous pulsar monitoring and galaxy mapping, HI velocity fields of nearby galaxies, and investigation of the polarisation response of the array.

Issue 6, April 2014 [2.0MB PDF]
Issue 6 includes milestones achieved during ASKAP BETA commissioning, such as the first spectral line image and data cube produced following the successful reconfiguration of the BETA hardware correlator at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO).

Issue 5, November 2013 [165kB PDF]
Issue 5 includes the first updates on ASKAP BETA commissioning, the ASKAP Design Enhancements (ADE) program, ASKAP Early Science planning, RFI mitigation with Phased Array Feeds and the ASKAP Working Group.

Issue 4, September 2013 [350kB PDF]
Issue 4 includes the first nine-beam image demostrated by three ASKAP PAFs and hardware correlator at the MRO, the installation of all six 'BETA' (MkI) PAFs, the construction of the first full-size prototype MkII PAF, the ASKAP Early Science workshop and ASKAP Outreach activities.

Issue 3, July 2013 [1.0MB PDF]
Issue 3 includes a survey of the Galactic Centre using an ASKAP phased array feed, phase Closure with the ASKAP Correlator, on-dish Tsys/efficiency measurement for Mk I Phased Array Feed, progress on ASKAP (Mk II) Phased Array Feeds, and a summary of workshop on ‘RFI and its impact on the new generation of HI spectral-line surveys’.

Issue 2, June 2013 [0.5MB PDF]
Issue 2 includes the first ASKAP multi-beam continuum image, and investigation of beam shapes, progress on the hardware correlator testing, and summaries of upcoming commissioning activities and an ASKAP survey science team co-ordination and management meeting.

Issue 1, April 2013 [0.7MB PDF]
Issue 1 includes an update on BETA commissioning, a summary of Phased Array Feed testing and an announcement of the next ASKAP survey science team meeting.


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