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Commissioning of Australian SKA precursor moves forward

Last week in South Africa’s Karoo region was inaugurated the first antenna of what will eventually be a 64-antenna array called MeerKAT, the African SKA precursor telescope (read the release here). 

At the same time in Australia, the commissioning of one of Australia’s SKA precursor telescopes, ASKAP, is moving forward steadily at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in Western Australia.

A month ago we reported that ASKAP’s supercomputer, the correlator, was being readied for processing images from 6 antennas together (read here) following the successful test of two separate arrays of 3 antennas a couple of weeks earlier (here).

The preparation of the supercomputer is now complete and ASKAP’s commissioning team has successfully processed data from all 6 antennas used as a single array. 

This array serves as an engineering testbed during the commissioning phase of the telescope, in preparation for full operations using all 36 antennas together.

Read the full release on CSIRO’s ATNF website.

ASKAP  commissioningEach of the 15 panels show a single baseline of ASKAP’s 6-antenna test array. The y-axis show time (in 5-second steps) and the x-axis is relative ‘lag’ (in 3-nanosecond steps).