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Project area/S

  • Data Intensive Astronomy/Epoch of Reionisation

Project Details

Current and next-generation radio telescopes such as the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) and the Square Kilometre Array Low Frequency (SKA-LOW) operate within a frequency range (≲300 MHz) that is vital for diverse scientific goals, including detecting the Epoch of Reionisation signal from the early Universe The success of all of these endeavours depends on being able to accurately calibrate the telescopes themselves, including a complete characterisation of the telescope’s response to polarised sources. Recently, several techniques have been pioneered to obtain full polarimetric calibration solutions.

The MWA is routinely calibrated using a state-of-the-art, high-performance software package named “hyperdrive”, which has been verified to produce excellent calibration solutions given total intensity (Stokes I) sky models. The aim of this project is to augment the existing functionality of hyperdrive to correctly handle polarimetric sky models—in particular, correctly modelling Faraday rotation of linearly polarised sources by the interstellar medium—and verify the correctness of the derived calibration solutions by applying them to MWA data sets

Student Attributes

Academic Background

Background in physics and (desirable) radio astronomy, polarisation, digital signal processing

Computing Skills
(desirable) Python, C, Rust, supercomputing

Training Requirement
Rust; fundamentals of radio astronomy

Project Timeline

  • Week 1 Inductions and project introduction
  • Week 2 Initial Presentation
  • Week 3 Code familiarisation and planning
  • Week 4 Work on interpolating and smoothing solutions
  • Week 5 Add XY phase correction
  • Week 6 Code testing and validation with real data
  • Week 7 Validating XY phase corrections
  • Week 8 Validating XY phase corrections
  • Week 9 Final Presentation
  • Week 10 Final Report
Polarisation phase diagram

Hyperdrive example for polarisation calibration


Dr Sam McSweeney

Associate Lecturer

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