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Project area/S

  • Fast Transients and Pulsars

Project Details

The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) has recently detected its first cosmic rays – high-energy charged particles impacting the atmosphere from outside the Solar System. When these particles interact above the MWA, they produce a nanosecond burst of radio waves. Several such events have recently been detected – this project aims to reconstruct these events with the highest resolution possible. The project aim will be to improve the synthesis of data at nanosecond time-scales (the array normally operates at millisecond, or at most, at microsecond scales), and use this to reconstruct the direction of the events. It will also aim to determine the location of radio-frequency interference signals so that their sources can be found and… dealt with appropriately. The ultimate goal is to determine the nature of the cosmic ray primaries and their high-energy interactions, which are at energies beyond the reach of even the Large Hadron Collider. This work will support an ongoing project funded by two Australian Research Council grants.

Student Attributes

Academic Background

Any physics, astronomy, computing, or engineering/electronics would be equally suitable for this project.

Computing Skills
C++ and python would be useful, but not essential.

Training Requirement
LaTeX, introductory python/c++, and standard HPC/Garrawarla usage.

Project Timeline

  • Week 1 Inductions and project introduction
  • Week 2 Initial Presentation
  • Week 3 Initial studies: MWA signal chain (aka “fun with polyphase filterbanks!”)
  • Week 4 Improved PFB inversion design
  • Week 5 Implementation of PFB inversion on Garrawarla
  • Week 6 Processing of existing MWA data
  • Week 7  Event reconstruction: results
  • Week 8  Event reconstruction: analysis/conclusions
  • Week 9 Final Presentation
  • Week 10 Final Report


Dr Sam McSweeney

Associate Lecturer

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