The Murchison Widefield Array: Design Overview

C.L. Lonsdale, R.J. Cappallo, M.F. Morales, F.H. Briggs, L. Benkevitch, J.D. Bowman, J.D. Bunton, S. Burns, B.E. Corey, L. Desouza, S.S. Doeleman, M. Derome, A. Deshpande, M.R. Gopala, L.J. Greenhill, D.E. Herne, J.N. Hewitt, P.A. Kamini, J.C. Kasper, B.B. KincaidJ. Kocz, E. Kowald, E. Kratzenberg, D. Kumar, M.J. Lynch, S. Madhavi, M. Matejek, D.A. Mitchell, E. Morgan, D. Oberoi, S. Ord, J. Pathikulangara, T. Prabu, A.E.E. Rogers, A. Roshi, J.E. Salah, R.J. Sault, N. Shankar, K.S. Srivani, J. Stevens, S. Tingay, A. Vaccarella, M. Waterson, R.B. Wayth, R.L. Webster, A.R. Whitney, Andrew Williams, C. Williams

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    294 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The Murchison Widefield Array is a dipole-basedaperture array synthesis telescope designed to operate in the80–300 MHz frequency range. It is capable of a wide range ofscience investigations but is initially focused on three keyscience projects: detection and characterization of threedimensionalbrightness temperature fluctuations in the 21 cmline of neutral hydrogen during the epoch of reionization (EoR)at redshifts from six to ten; solar imaging and remote sensing ofthe inner heliosphere via propagation effects on signals fromdistant background sources; and high-sensitivity exploration ofthe variable radio sky. The array design features 8192 dualpolarizationbroadband active dipoles, arranged into 512 Btiles[comprising 16 dipoles each. The tiles are quasi-randomly distributedover an aperture 1.5 km in diameter, with a smallnumber of outliers extending to 3 km. All tile–tile baselines arecorrelated in custom field-programmable gate array basedhardware, yielding a Nyquist-sampled instantaneous monochromaticuv coverage and unprecedented point spreadfunction quality. The correlated data are calibrated in realtime using novel position-dependent self-calibration algorithms.The array is located in the Murchison region of outbackWestern Australia. This region is characterized by extremelylow population density and a superbly radio-quiet environment,allowing full exploitation of the instrumental capabilities.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1497-1506
    JournalProceedings of the IEEE
    Volume97
    Issue number8
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

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