New PAFs 'on the verge' of surpassing BETA

A radio image made from 25 beams with ASKAP. Credit: CSIRO.

The first 25 ever beam image produced with ASKAP
to instantaneously cover the full 30 sq degree FOV.
Click on the thumbnail for more detail

18 December 2015

Commissioning activities with ASKAP’s second generation (Mk II) receivers have produced an image from ‘the most beams yet’, with early data indicating the performance of the Mk II systems may be on the verge of surpassing the BETA telescope very soon.

The new image was produced in a 12 hour observation of the Apus test field using five Mk II phased array feed (PAF) receivers installed on ASKAP antennas at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO).

The beam footprint was made up of 25 beams, in a 5x5 square, and is the first image to instantaneously cover approximately 30 square degrees – that is, the full ASKAP field of view.

The data for the observation were calibrated and imaged on the ASKAP real time computer, Galaxy, located at the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre in Perth, Western Australia.

According to ASKAP Commissioning and Early Science (ACES) member Josh Marvil, the latest array of PAF systems recently installed on ASKAP antennas at the MRO may be on the verge of surpassing the performance of the BETA (Mk I) telescope, after just a few months of commissioning.

This sentiment was echoed by ACES lead Dave McConnell, who said “We’ve had a good look at the data and, despite some bugs that the hardware and firmware team will be able to fix, there’s no indication of things in the data that aren’t understandable.”

“The team has done a fantastic job to push the system to where they have, and this bodes well for ASKAP in the coming year.”

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