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Just as stars twinkle in the night sky due to turbulence in the atmosphere, radio sources twinkle due to turbulence in the solar wind, a phenomenon known as interplanetary scintillation (IPS). As well as being useful for predicting space weather events, IPS can also be used to identify and study extremely compact sources.

Using the MWA optimally for these observations has required us to go back to the drawing board and develop our own methods and algorithms for analysing them. In the future, these techniques could also be applied to the SKA-low, allowing it to function as a space weather observatory as well as opening up a whole slew of new astrophysics.

In this project, the student will work out how to optimally deconvolve IPS images. This is a critical step in making a radio image, and will allow us to make more sensitive observations. In completing the project the student will master the basic steps of radio interferometry data analysis. A useful side-effect of this work is that we will also be able to measure key parameters of the ionosphere which is highly relevant for future calibration and imaging algorithms.

This project would suit a student who is interested in doing astronomy with future radio telescopes and would really like to dig down into guts of how radio images are made. We can modify the project to concentrate more on Space Weather, High-performance computing or SKA science, depending on the interests of the student.

More information on IPS

PDF PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND TIMELINE

Co-Supervisors

Dr Rajan Chhetri

Research Associate (CAASTRO)

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