Wide-field broad-band radio imaging with phased array feeds: A pilot multi-epoch continuum survey with ASKAP-BETA

I. Heywood, K.W. Bannister, J. Marvil, J.R. Allison, L. Ball, M.E. Bell, D.C.J. Bock, M. Brothers, J.D. Bunton, A.P. Chippendale, F. Cooray, T.J. Cornwell, D. De Boer, P. Edwards, R. Gough, N. Gupta, L. Harvey-Smith, S. Hay, A.W. Hotan, B. IndermuehleC. Jacka, Chloe Jackson, S. Johnston, A.E. Kimball, B.S. Koribalski, E. Lenc, A. Macleod, N. Mcclure-Griffiths, D. Mcconnell, P. Mirtschin, T. Murphy, S. Neuhold, R.P. Norris, S. Pearce, Attila Popping, R.Y. Qiao, J.E. Reynolds, E.M. Sadler, R.J. Sault, A.E.T. Schinckel, P. Serra, T.W. Shimwell, J. Stevens, J. Tuthill, A. Tzioumis, M.A. Voronkov, Tobias Westmeier, M.T. Whiting

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© 2016 The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. The Boolardy Engineering TestArray is a 6×12mdish interferometer and the prototype of the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), equipped with the first generation of ASKAP's phased array feed (PAF) receivers. These facilitate rapid wide-area imaging via the deployment of simultaneous multiple beams within an ~30 deg2 field of view. By cycling the array through 12 interleaved pointing positions and using nine digitally formed beams, we effectively mimic a traditional 1 h × 108 pointing survey, covering ~150 deg2 over 711-1015 MHz in 12 h of observing time. Three such observations were executed over the course of a week. We verify the full bandwidth continuum imaging performance and stability of the system via self-consistency checks and comparisons to existing radio data. The combined three epoch image has arcminute resolution and a 1s thermal noise level of 375 µJy beam-1, although the effective noise is a factor of ~3 higher due to residual sidelobe confusion. From this we derive a catalogue of 3722 discrete radio components, using the 35 per cent fractional bandwidth to measure in-band spectral indices for 1037 of them. A search for transient events reveals one significantly variable source within the survey area. The survey covers approximately two-thirds of the Spitzer South Pole Telescope Deep Field. This pilot project demonstrates the viability and potential of using PAFs to rapidly and accurately survey the sky at radio wavelengths.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4160-4178
Number of pages19
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Early online date27 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2016


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