[Skip to Content]

Project area/S

  • Extragalactic Radio Science

Project Details

The Ionosphere has a strong effect on low-frequency radio observations, and as the future site of the SKA-low it is critical to characterize the ionosphere at the Murchison Radio Observatory. The main tool for doing this is the MWA, the low-frequency SKA precursor instrument. Over many years, careful measurements of the ionosphere have been made studying the refractive shift in source positions induced by the ionosphere, which have resulted in the discovery of hitherto unknown structures in the ionosphere and magnetosphere.

The magnitude of variability of the ionosphere that is observed in this way would be expected to induce amplitude scintillations: 1-10% random fluctuations in the brightness of radio sources on timescales of ~10s. These are indeed observed. However, perhaps surprisingly, the magnitude of these effects are not correlated with the magnitude of the refractive shifts.

The aim of this project will be to conduct a more comprehensive survey of amplitude scintillation with the MWA than has been attempted thus far.

Student Attributes

Academic Background

This project would appeal to someone with an interest in large datasets, and / or someone with an interest in radio propagation and its relevance to radio astronomy.

Computing Skills
Experience with python is desirable, some experience with programming will be required

Training Requirement
We will provide some training on the use of supercomputers and standard astronomical tools for visualising large datasets.

Project Timeline

  • Week 1 Inductions and project introduction
  • Week 2 Initial presentation
  • Week 3 Background reading and learning to process a sample data
  • Week 4 Definition of the sample that will be studied, and the types of observations that will be used
  • Week 5 Data processing and further reading / development of the analysis
  • Week 6 Data processing
  • Week 7 Data processing and preliminary comparison of scintillation data with other MWA ionospheric metrics
  • Week 8 Final analysis and comparison with other ionospheric metrics (including non-MWA, e.g. global indices, GNSS)
  • Week 9 Final presentation
  • Week 10 Final report


Dr Christopher Jordan

Research Associate

Read More