Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia Society
Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia
RESEARCH ARTICLE (Open Access)

The Commensal Real-Time ASKAP Fast-Transients (CRAFT) Survey

Jean-Pierre Macquart A O , M. Bailes B , N. D. R. Bhat C , G. C. Bower C , J. D. Bunton D , S. Chatterjee E F , T. Colegate A , J. M. Cordes F , L. D'Addario G , A. Deller H , R. Dodson I , R. Fender J , K. Haines I , P. Halll A , C. Harris I , A. Hotan A , S. Jonston D , D. L. Jones G , M. Keith D , J. Y. Koay A , T. J. W. Lazio K , W. Majid G , T. Murphy E , R. Navarro G , C. Phillips D , P. Quinn I , R. A. Preston G , B. Stansby A , I. Stairs L , B. Stappers M , L. Staveley-Smith I , S. Tingay A , D. Thompson G , W. van Straten B , K. Wagstaff G , M. Warren N , R. Wayth A and L. Wen (the CRAFT Collaboration) I
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A ICRAR/Curtin Institute of Radio Astronomy, GPO Box U1987, Perth, WA 6845

B Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing, Swinburne University of Technology, PO Box 218, Hawthorn, VIC 3122

C Astronomy Department & Radio Astronomy Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA

D Australia Telescope National Facility, CSIRO, PO Box 76, Epping, NSW 1710

E Sydney Institute for Astronomy (SIfA), School of Physics, University of Sydney, NSW 2006

F Astronomy Department, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA

G Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109, USA

H National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), PO Box 0, Socorro, NM 87801, USA

I ICRAR/University of Western Australia, Fairway 7, Crawley, Perth,WA 6009

J School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK and Astronomical Institute ‘Anton Pannekoek’, University of Amsterdam, Kruislaan 403, 1098 SJ Amsterdam, The Netherlands

K Naval Research Laboratory, 4555 Overlook Ave., SW,Washington, DC 20375, USA

L Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1, Canada

M Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, Alan Turing Building, University of Manchester,Manchester M13 9PL, UK

N Theoretical Astrophysics Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87543, USA

O Corresponding author. Email: j.macquart@curtin.edu.au

Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia 27(3) 272-282 https://doi.org/10.1071/AS09082
Submitted: 17 November 2009  Accepted: 14 January 2010   Published: 17 June 2010

Abstract

We are developing a purely commensal survey experiment for fast (<5 s) transient radio sources. Short-timescale transients are associated with the most energetic and brightest single events in the Universe. Our objective is to cover the enormous volume of transients parameter space made available by ASKAP, with an unprecedented combination of sensitivity and field of view. Fast timescale transients open new vistas on the physics of high brightness temperature emission,extreme states of matter and the physics of strong gravitational fields. In addition, the detection of extragalactic objects affords us an entirely new and extremely sensitive probe on the huge reservoir of baryons present in the IGM. We outline here our approach to the considerable challenge involved in detecting fast transients, particularly the development of hardware fast enough to dedisperse and search the ASKAP data stream at or near real-time rates. Through CRAFT, ASKAP will provide the testbed of many of the key technologies and survey modes proposed for high time resolution science with the SKA.

Keywords: gravitational waves — ISM: structure — scattering — surveys — techniques: radar astronomy


Acknowledgments

This work was partly done at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Aerospace Administration.


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1 See http://voeventnet.caltech.edu/ .)

2 Accepted VLBA proposal authored by Tingay, Deller & Brisken.

3 Bhat et al. GMRT proposal 17_081.

4 In general, descriptions of beam forming in PAFs can be confusing because there can be two stages; one for forming primary beams in the PAFs, and one for forming tied-array beams further down the signal path. In the ‘incoherently summed approach’ of Subsystem i (see Section 4.3.1) the total powers of each PAF beam are summed incoherently over all 36 antennas. In Subsystem iii, which searches for detections using tied-array beams, two stages of beam forming are employed. The first stage occurs at the PAF beam-formers, and the second occurs in the tied-array hardware.

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