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Update on KAT-7, the 4 PI SKY project, and everything

Update on KAT-7, the 4 PI SKY project, and everything

Rob Fender
LOFAR Transients Key Project Meeting, Meudon, December 2011



June 23, 2012


  1. None
  2. c 4 PI SKY ThunderKAT Rob Fender Funded The ERC

    c SKA
  3. 4 PI SKY (Southampton) Funded by ERC advanced investigator grant

    Aims are to create infrastructure and software to use worldwide network of radio telescopes and follow-up facilities as a global transients network. Staff: Rob Fender, Anna Scaife Postdocs: Jess Broderick, Teo Munoz Darias, Tim Staley, Tom Hassall, Rene Breton PhDs: Gosia Pietka, Adam Stewart + 2 more in 2012 + 500kEuro 'telescope time' money
  4. Square Kilometre Array Next generation radio telescope, 80 MHz to

    ~15 GHz orders of magnitude Improvement in sensitivity. Phased deployment after ~2012 site decision.
  5. Imaging Survey Speed: The Next Generation

  6. LOFAR with -0.7 spectral correction

  7. LOFAR with -2 spectral correction

  8. None
  9. None
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  11. ThunderKAT Transient astrophysics in the image plane with MeerKAT Patrick

    Woudt (UCT) Rob Fender (Southampton)
  12. ThunderKAT goals: • To monitor (often as part of multiwavelength

    campaigns) variable / high-energy astrophysical phenomena e.g. jets from black hole X-ray binaries, supernovae • To search both commensally1 and in a targeted way for new radio transients, and to classify / identify and report on these as rapidly as possible (1symbiotic relationship in which one species derives some benefit while the other is unaffected)
  13. Differences with LOFAR TKSP: • Higher frequency more focus on

    → synchrotron rather than coherent events
  14. ThunderKAT plan • Regular short monitoring slots for currently active

    targets (e.g. BHXRB undergoing ~1 yr active phase) • Target of opportunity observations (a limited number of) which can override existing observing blocks to varying degrees Time award ~2.5 hr per day, for five years • A 'spigot' which continuously dumps (semi-)calibrated visibilities on a timescale of 1 sec into a machine (provided by ThunderKAT) to look for transients, during all observing programs (i.e. commensal aspect)
  15. Correlator CPU cluster running standard imaging pipeline User spigot The

    ThunderKAT spigot ThunderKAT system Imaging (cluster) Source finding Analysis ≤1 sec cycles Report if interesting Data rate for full f.o.v. and full b/w ~700 Mb/sec Collaborators / outside world (via e.g. VOEventNet) Rate estimate ≥ 1 day-1
  16. KAT-7 MeerKAT test array (c.f. BETA for ASKAP) 7-antenna 1-2

    GHz ~200m longest baseline → arcmin resolution Construction finished earlier this year Test/commissioning observations now taking place MeerKAT will have 20 dishes deployed by mid-2013 (ultimately 64 dishes)
  17. KAT-7 commissioning monitoring of PKS 1510-089 Credit: Simon Ratcliffe, Jasper

    Horrel and SKA-ZA
  18. ThunderKAT-7 • Porting of LOFAR Transients 'system' (still evolving) and

    multiλ collaboration to ThunderKAT system ( Richard Armstrong) → • KAT-7 science: we could use KAT-7 to test observations of variable sources, test rapid response systems and produce publishable science (e.g. Circinus X-1, most relativistic jet source in the galaxy)
  19. Cir X-1 Ultrarelativistic (Γ > 10) jet from an accreting

    neutron star in a binary. Powers a large- scale nebula (like SS433/W50)
  20. None
  21. Credit: Simon Ratcliffe, Jasper Horrel and SKA-ZA

  22. None
  23. Summary ERC grants are good (CR KSP, AARTFAAC, 4 PI

    SKY) MeerKAT (and ASKAP) are embracing transients science as well – with very similar goals and methods (but subtly different targets) KAT-7 is already taking scientifically interesting data... (in fact more observations took place this morning [simultaneous with ATCA]) … and is very interested in strong links with LOFAR Transients KSP.