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The Engineering Development Array (EDA) and the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory, prototype SKA station consisting of 256 MWA dipoles. Credit: Kim Steele.

The Engineering Development Array (EDA) and the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory, prototype SKA station consisting of 256 MWA dipoles. Credit: Kim Steele.

Cosmic-rays are the highest energy particles observed in nature. Their energies reaching 1020 eV can be many orders of magnitude higher than anything achievable by particle colliders. Their origin is not fully explained. When high energy particles hit the upper parts of the atmosphere they produce a cascade of lower energy particles (cosmic air-shower) which emit Cherenkov radiation in optical and radio wavelengths and the later can be detected by low-frequency radio telescopes. The signature of such events is a very short (less than a microsecond) transient of radio signal.

The Engineering Development Array (EDA) is a prototype SKA station consisting of 256 MWA dipoles. It is located at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in the midwest of Western Australia. In March 2017 it was briefly used in a mode with two dipoles in East-West polarisation with a special software trigger developed to capture transient events in full (~1.5 ns) time resolution and a few hours worth of data were acquired in this mode in order to detect low-frequency radio emission from cosmic-ray showers.

The aim of the project is to analyse the collected data in search for cosmic-ray events. We would also like to characterise and classify the background events in the data sample, which may be due to radio-frequency interference (RFI) or nearby lightning (especially one night was collected in a presence of a nearby lightning).

This project would nicely fit with a project by Dr. Clancy James (Simulating bursts of radio waves from cosmic rays) to compare results from observation with simulation predictions.

Pdf Project Description and Timeline

Co-Supervisors

Dr Clancy James

Senior Research Fellow

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