UTMOST operating at full bandwidth – and in 3 science modes simultaneously

9th June 2015 UTMOST achieved a new milestone over the weekend, operating for the first time at its full bandwidth coverage of 30 MHz. Up until now, we’ve been operating at 15 MHz bandwidth, but the newly installed GPU supercomputer now allows us to catch and process twice the amount of data live.

Screenshot - 070615 - 00:27:34
The bright Southern hemisphere pulsar J1644-4559, seen at UTMOST for the first time over 30 MHz of bandwidth. This observation was for roughly 1 hour around the transit of the pulsar across the UTMOST meridian.

We had another first as well — data were taken simultaneously in 3 different science operation modes, TIME, BURST and MAP:

  • a tied array beam was placed on the pulsar J1644-4559 as it transited through the UTMOST primary beam — as described above
  • “fanbeams”, narrow tilings of the primary beam, were recorded and searched for radio transients — such as single pulses from pulsars and Fast Radio Bursts


Pulses from Vela, seen dispersed across the full 30 MHz bandwidth of the upgraded system. The arrival time of the pulses is affected by the electron density of the interstellar medium through which they travel, giving rise to the tilt in the pulse arrival time versus frequency. Fast Radio Bursts, the search for which is a primary science driver for the instrument, will have considerably higher dispersions across the wavelength band than seen here using Vela. This observation shows the system is working well after the bandwidth upgrade of a factor of two.


  • total temporal power in the fanbeams was recorded live, allowing us to construct maps of the sky in the primary beam


The central regions of Centaurus A, one of the brightest radio galaxies in the Southern sky, is seen transiting the primary beam at UTMOST, appears as a time shifted signal in adjacent fanbeams. Data of this type will be used to map the Southern sky with UTMOST, by tracking for up to 12 hours at a time. This detection of the galaxy took place in the first side-lobe of the instrument in the North-South — the first time we have seen the sidelobes in this direction with our UTMOST upgrade.