Phased antenna arrays expand the possibilities of radio astronomy

02.05.2018

To speed up and simplify the exploration of space, an international team of astronomers and engineers developed a new, improved version of the radio astronomy systems produce images based on the mechanism of phased-array reception signal grid antenna (phased array feed PAF). This unique tool can survey vast areas of the sky and generate multiple types of astronomical objects with unmatched efficiency.

This new system is unlike the camera or other, the "traditional" image-capture device such as a CCD matrix as optical telescopes or a single receiver is composed of the telescope, and represents the "forest" of miniature radio antennas resembling trees that are evenly distributed on the surface of the metal plate with a diameter of one meter. When this system is installed on a single-cell radio telescope, specialized computers and signal processors combine information flows from individual antennas, forming a virtual multi-pixel camera.

Tools of this class are particularly useful in many important areas of astronomical research, including the study of hydrogen gas flowing into our Galaxy and the search for fast radio bursts.

This new system includes 19 dipole antennas, with the received signal power changing along the surface of the antenna array. By calculating the signal level for each antenna, the system generates a so-called"point scattering function". The PAF system's computer and signal processors can calculate up to seven different point scattering functions at a time, allowing the receiver to synthesize seven individual streams in the sky.

High astronomical value of this receiver was demonstrated during observations of the pulsar B0329+54 and the Outlet of the nebula carried out with the help of a radio telescope Observatory, green Bank, USA.

A study on this phased array imaging system was published in the journal of Astronomical Journal; chief author D. Anish Roshi (D. Anish Roshi).