Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder

CSIRO's Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) is a radio telescope situated about 800 km north of Perth, in the Murchison region of Western Australia. ASKAP uses new technology to achieve extremely high survey speed, making it one of the best instruments in the world for mapping the sky at radio wavelengths.

ASKAP is a synthesis array consisting of 36 dish antennas, each 12m in diameter, spread out in two dimensions with baselines up to 6km. This gives ASKAP an excellent snapshot imaging capability and dense UV sampling. Each antenna is equipped with a phased array feed (PAF) that can be used to form 36 dual-polarisation primary beams, giving the telescope its wide field of view and rapid survey capability.

ASKAP's large field of view is achieved through the use of relatively small (12 m) dishes, combined with innovative phased array feed (PAF) receivers. Each PAF comprises 188 individual receiving elementswhich, after digital beamforming, can generate up to 36 dual-polarisation beams. The feeds are mounted at the prime focus of each 12 m antenna, yielding about a 30 square degree field of view per dish, some 30 times larger than possible with a traditional receiver. The PAF is sensitive to radio waves with frequencies in the range 700 - 1,800 MHz.  

ASKAP’s science goals were developed in consultation with the worldwide astrophysics community. Eight international science teams have developed survey plans that address goals related to understanding galaxy evolution, transient sources, polarisation, and magnetism, among others. ASKAP’s capabilities represent a big leap forward, so the surveys we will conduct have a high chance of making unexpected discoveries. A list of publications about ASKAP or reporting results from ASKAP observations is available here

ASKAP became fully operational with all antennas in February 2019 and is currently conducting pilot surveys with the goal of beginning large-scale projects in 2021. This site describes the telescope, the history of the project and provides technical references for astronomers interested in using ASKAP data. An overview of ASKAP and the ATNF can be found on the main CSIRO website

ASKAP Telescope

ASKAP’s defining characteristic is its large field of view. This is achieved using Phased Array Feed (PAF) technology and high-speed digital processing systems, along with supercomputing facilities at the Pawseycentre in Perth.

 

Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory

ASKAP is located at CSIRO's Murchison Radio Observatory in Mid-West Western Australia, in a legislated radio quiet zone, making it one of the most radio quiet locations on Earth. The Wajarri Yamaji are the traditional landowners of the site and CSIRO is grateful to the Wajarri community for working with us to allow the development of the Observatory.

The MRO has only been in existence for about 10 years - one of the newest observatories in the world. It already hosts three world class radio telescopes - ASKAP, MWA and EDGES and will co-host the forthcoming SKA telescope in the 2020’s.

The instruments and facilities are powered by a hybrid power station that uses a massive solar array to provide power. The telescopes on the MRO generate the equivalent of nearly the entire Internet (over 100 Gigabits per second), which is pumped down 8,000 fibre optics cables that go into the site control building.

  • More information about the MRO can be found here
  • The site includes a shielded solar/diesel hybrid power station
  • An interactive virtual tour of the site is available here
  • Information on the ASKAP antenna layout can be found here

ASKAP Survey Science Teams

75% of the available time on ASKAP is dedicated to long-term survey projects, like the ATCA legacy projects. These surveys were selected based on scientific merit during design and construction. A summary of the projects can be found here. The individual survey projects are listed below, along with off-site links to more information.

ASKAP Science Data Archive

All ASKAP data (image cubes, basic catalogues, and averaged visibilities) are provided to the public free of charge once they have gone through a quality control process. The science teams will be providing value-added data products (e.g. large-scale catalogues, rotation measure maps) based on the released data products.

ASKAP News and Updates

The ASKAP team communicates regularly with the science community through weekly working groups, monthly meetings, newsletters, and occasional dedicated workshops. Many of the science teams conduct their own busy weeks to work on newly obtained data.

  • The survey science team confluence space provides useful information for team members
  • Monthly newsletters describing progress and important events can be found here
  • Other news, press releases and significant events are reported here
ASKAP
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