Multi-beam image validates ASKAP BETA system design

26 July 2013

The ASKAP team has produced the first multi-beam image with the ASKAP BETA system, with the new hardware correlator installed at the Murchison Radio Observatory (MRO) in Western Australia.

This builds on their recent success in obtaining first correlation and phase closure on an astronomical source with the hardware correlator.

The image was created with ASKAP Antennas 1, 3 and 6, which are fitted with the innovative PAF receivers, along with the digital systems, beamformer and hardware correlator. The field-of-view comprises nine overlapping beams, covering the region bounded by the red contour in the image.

This improves on the three beams used for the first ASKAP image, made in April 2013 with the interim data capture/software correlator. The three bright extragalactic sources PKS1610-771, PKS 1549-790 and PKS 1547-795 are again clearly visible, as they were in the earlier image.

The success of these initial correlator tests validates the BETA hardware design and clears the way for the deployment of the next three ‘Mk I’ antenna systems to the MRO. This deployment is already underway and will complete the six-antenna BETA – the Boolardy Engineering Test Array- to be used by the Commissioning teams to prepare for the full fit-out of the 36 antenna ASKAP telescope.

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