CfA Colloquium Schedule Fall 2007
 4 October 2007

4 October 2007

Speaker: Justin Kasper (CfA)

Title: Breaking the Ionospheric Barrier: The Murchison Wide-field Array and the Return of Low Frequency Radio Astronomy

Abstract: After two decades of relative quiet, the field of low frequency radio imaging has seen a burst of activity, with major construction of ambitious distributed radio antenna arrays commencing in Western Australia, New Mexico, and Europe. Earlier low frequency arrays were limited in precision due to distortions created by density fluctuations within our ionosphere, but recent advances in information technology - including real time computing and high bandwidth data transportation - have enabled us to break through the ionospheric barrier using real time instrument calibration a form of radio adaptive optics. In this talk, I will describe the Murchison Wide-Field Array - Low Frequency Demonstrator (MWA), an 80-300 MHz imaging interferometric radio array consisting of 8000 antennas distributed over several square kilometers in the Australian outback. MWA will demonstrate the power of a digital array for conducting groundbreaking science through wide instantaneous fields of view, high sensitivity, high bandwidth, and excellent spectral resolution. I will provide details on the organization and schedule for MWA and discuss the three main scientific objectives: making the first measurements of the Epoch of Reionization, observing shock waves and magnetic fields in the solar corona and searching for transient astrophysical signals. MWA is an interdisciplinary project, and this is reflected by the number of divisions at the CfA involved in the array. I will highlight the role the CfA is playing in MWA and suggest additional scientific opportunities with the array.

Video of the Presentation (Talks can be viewed with RealPlayer. Free download is available from )


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