The UTMOST-2D project is a novel, open, and low-cost radio telescope facility designed to maximise the number of Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) that can be detected and localised to host galaxies.
FRBs are brief but intense flashes of radio energy that originate in distant galaxies. Since their discovery just over a decade ago, their progenitors have remained a mystery, and a dearth of observational data has allowed a zoo of theories to flourish: merging neutron stars, cosmic lenses, super-magnetic stars and many other explanations have been put forward. Understanding FRBs is a major open question in modern astronomy: their signals carry the imprint of all the ionised material the burst traversed on its path to the Earth, meaning they could be used as a powerful new probe of galaxy disks, halos, and the intergalactic medium.
The north-south arm of the UTMOST-2D facility is currently being commissioned, making use of a generous award of approximately $100,000 AUD from the Mount Cuba Astronomical Foundation which will allow the use of “Radio Fequency over Fibre” technology and SNAP digitization boards to expand the field of view of the telescope (and hence the rate at which FRBs will be discovered) by a factor of 6.
The awarded funds will cover the purchase of additional signal transport, signal conditioning, and digitisation / signal processing necessary to provide this expanded field of view.
We are very grateful to the Foundation for this generous funding.