The Murchison Widefield Array is a dipole-based aperture array synthesis telescope designed to operate in the 80300 MHz frequency range. It is capable of a wide range of science investigations but is initially focused on three key science projects: detection and characterization of three-dimensional brightness temperature fluctuations in the 21 cm line of neutral hydrogen during the epoch of reionization (EoR) at redshifts from six to ten; solar imaging and remote sensing of the inner heliosphere via propagation effects on signals from distant background sources; and high-sensitivity exploration of the variable radio sky. The array design features 8192 dual-polarization broadband active dipoles, arranged into 512 tiles comprising 16 dipoles each. The tiles are quasi-randomly distributed over an aperture 1.5 km in diameter, with a small number of outliers extending to 3 km. All tiletile baselines are correlated in custom field-programmable gate array based hardware, yielding a Nyquist-sampled instantaneous monochromatic uv coverage and unprecedented point spread function quality. The correlated data are calibrated in real time using novel position-dependent self-calibration algorithms. The array is located in the Murchison region of outback Western Australia. This region is characterized by extremely low population density and a superbly radio-quiet environment, allowing full exploitation of the instrumental capabilities.
- Antenna arrays
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering