March 2021 : the UTMOST-2D team have completed the hardware build and installation on the telescope’s North-South arm.
The UTMOST-2D project is a major undertaking between Swinburne and Sydney Universities, and part of A/Prof Adam Deller’s ARC Future Fellowship and Prof Matthew Bailes’ Laureate Fellowship.
We have installed 72 “cassettes” (our basic receiver unit) and they are now fully operational, producing data into the GPU cluster on-site.
We are capturing around 105 Gbytes per second into a specially shielded RFI (Radio Frequency Interference) cabinet, after transporting the data optical fibre on lengths of up to 800 meters.
This wonderful achievement is a credit to hard work on many fronts, from electrical and mechanical engineering, electronics design prototyping and validation, hardware build and quality control and software development.
We did our first “FRB search” in April 2021, producing 250 time series streams of data in tiled beams on the sky, searching them simultaneously at high time resolution for pulses, on a test region on the bright Vela pulsar, with very encouraging results.
We have observed more than 40 individual pulsars since handover to the astronomers, and our aim is to take this to over 150 pulsars timed daily in the coming month or so. Neutron star physics, and in particular of glitches in pulsar timing, is the major science aim with this program.
Finalising the phasing of the North-South arm is currently our focus, and being able to search for single pulses, and localise them to a few arcseconds of accuracy on the sky, is just around the corner. Host galaxies of Fast Radio Bursts to follow!