- Fast transients and pulsars
Cosmic rays are the highest-energy particles in nature. Mostly protons, they reach energies more than a million times higher than that achieved at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. Produced by something in the universe, when a cosmic ray hits the top of the atmosphere, it generates a huge ‘extensive air shower’ (EAS) of secondary particles, some of which reach ground level. This gives off a burst of radio-waves lasting less than a microsecond, allowing radio telescopes operating at the highest time resolution to study these rare particles. The Murchison Widefield Array in outback Western Australia aims to detect these bursts of radio-wave radiation.
We have managed to process MWA data to search for nanosecond-duration radio transients at the MWA. For every cosmic ray, we detect thousands of (presumably) radio-frequency interference (RFI) events, with durations too short to be noticed in other observations. These are both intrinsically interesting – MWA should be as RFI free as possible! – and also can be used as free calibration signals to ensure that the telescope is working as expected. This open-ended project will challenge a student to find out as much as possible about this RFI, and use it to work out how to align data streams at the telescope to within a few nanoseconds.
None other than a curiosity to understand interesting things.
Python will be used, but this can be learned during the project.
Latex, scripting, and HPC would be beneficial.
- Week 1 Inductions and project introduction
- Week 2 Initial Presentation
- Week 3 Understanding MWA data/python: first look
- Week 4 Develop RFI reconstruction methods part 1
- Week 5 Develop RFI reconstruction methods part 2
- Week 6 Investigation of RFI origin – what is it?
- Week 7 Database of all RFI candidates: near and far-field
- Week 8 Conclusions on MWA timing accuracy
- Week 9 Final Presentation
- Week 10 Final Report
Professor Steven Tingay
Deputy Executive DirectorRead More