The murchison widefield array: Design overview

Colin J. Lonsdale, Roger J. Cappallo, Miguel F. Morales, Frank H. Briggs, Leonid Benkevitch, Judd D. Bowman, John D. Bunton, Steven Burns, Brian E. Corey, Ludi DeSouza, Sheperd S. Doeleman, Mark Derome, Avinash Deshpande, Modavanatt Ramakrishna Gopala, Lincoln J. Greenhill, David Edwin Herne, Jacqueline N. Hewitt, P. A. Kamini, Justin C. Kasper, Barton B. KincaidJonathan Kocz, Errol Kowald, Eric Kratzenberg, Deepak Kumar, Mervyn J. Lynch, S. Madhavi, Michael Matejek, Daniel A. Mitchell, Edward Morgan, Divya Oberoi, Steven Ord, Joseph Pathikulangara, T. Prabu, Alan E.E. Rogers, Anish Roshi, Joseph E. Salah, Robert J. Sault, N. Udaya Shankar, K. S. Srivani, Jamie Stevens, Steven Tingay, Annino Vaccarella, Mark Waterson, Randall B. Wayth, Rachel L. Webster, Alan R. Whitney, Andrew Williams, Christopher Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

316 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5164979
Pages (from-to)1497-1506
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the IEEE
Volume97
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2009

Keywords

  • Antenna arrays
  • Astronomy
  • Calibration
  • Imaging
  • Ionosphere

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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