Further phase closure success with ASKAP hardware correlator

Two ASKAP antennas at the MRO

15 July 2013

Just days after the ASKAP team achieved phase closure with three ASKAP antenna systems and the ASKAP hardware correlator in the Sydney workshop, the same commissioning tests were successfully repeated – this time at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Western Australia.

The hardware correlator was transported from Sydney to the MRO, where members of the ASKAP team were able to repeat phase closure tests using three ASKAP antennas installed with the first generation phased array feed (PAF) receiver systems.

While the ‘lab tests’ were performed using a simulated signal in the workshop, at the MRO the team was now able use observations of Virgo to achieve fringes and then phase closure with the PAFs installed on ASKAP Antennas 1, 3 and 6.

According to CSIRO ASKAP Project Director Ant Schinckel, the successful phase closure tests – both in the lab and onsite – are the result of a great effort from many staff involved in the ASKAP project.

“These results rely on all parts of the ASKAP and MRO system working,” says Ant, “It’s not only the work on the firmware which lies at the heart of the beamformer and the correlator, but also the software effort required to capture and repackage the correlator data, the monitoring and analysis of the pipeline output, and the vital support given from all sides of the project that has contributed to the outcome. It’s a testament to the team’s overall success so far in designing and building the ASKAP system.”

The ASKAP team is now working towards phase closure with all six of the first generation PAF receiver systems once they are installed on ASKAP antennas at the MRO.

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