Low frequency aperture array technology requires advanced ad-hoc tools for performing antenna and array pattern characterization and instrumental calibration. A micro Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) mounting a radio-frequency transmitting system developed in Italy has demonstrated to satisfy the challenging characteristics of these tasks. Therefore, a measurement campaign by means of this UAV system has been planned to one Dutch station of the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) with the main goal to improve the LOFAR antenna and array models. In preparation for this campaign, some initial tests applying the UAV system to one low-frequency antenna of LOFAR were performed in Italy. This contribution describes this measurement session and shows that the measured antenna gain patterns at different frequencies between 40 and 70 MHz agree very well with the electromagnetic models.
Proc. SPIE. 9914, Millimeter, Submillimeter, and Far-Infrared Detectors and Instrumentation for Astronomy VIII
KEYWORDS: Principal component analysis, Zinc, Fourier transforms, Interference (communication), Field programmable gate arrays, Space telescopes, Signal processing, Galactic astronomy, Signal detection, Stochastic processes
SETI, the Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence, is the search for radio signals emitted by alien civilizations living in the Galaxy. Narrow-band FFT-based approaches have been preferred in SETI, since their computation time only grows like N*lnN, where N is the number of time samples. On the contrary, a wide-band approach based on the Kahrunen-Lo`eve Transform (KLT) algorithm would be preferable, but it would scale like N*N. In this paper, we describe a hardware-software infrastructure based on FPGA boards and GPU-based PCs that circumvents this computation-time problem allowing for a real-time KLT.
We present a project aimed at realizing an Italian aperture array demonstrator constituted by prototypical Vivaldi antennas designed to operate at radio frequencies below 500 MHz. We focus on an array composed of a core plus a few satellite phased-array stations to be installed at the Sardinia Radio Telescope (SRT) site. The antenna elements are mobile and thus it will be possible to investigate the performance in terms of both uv-coverage and synthesized resolution resulting from different configurations of the array.
We present the status of the Sardinia Radio Telescope (SRT) project, a new general purpose, fully steerable 64 m
diameter parabolic radiotelescope capable to operate with high efficiency in the 0.3-116 GHz frequency range. The
instrument is the result of a scientific and technical collaboration among three Structures of the Italian National Institute
for Astrophysics (INAF): the Institute of Radio Astronomy of Bologna, the Cagliari Astronomy Observatory (in
Sardinia,) and the Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory in Florence. Funding agencies are the Italian Ministry of Education
and Scientific Research, the Sardinia Regional Government, and the Italian Space Agency (ASI,) that has recently
rejoined the project. The telescope site is about 35 km North of Cagliari.
The radio telescope has a shaped Gregorian optical configuration with a 7.9 m diameter secondary mirror and
supplementary Beam-WaveGuide (BWG) mirrors. With four possible focal positions (primary, Gregorian, and two
BWGs), SRT will be able to allocate up to 20 remotely controllable receivers. One of the most advanced technical
features of the SRT is the active surface: the primary mirror will be composed by 1008 panels supported by electromechanical
actuators digitally controlled to compensate for gravitational deformations. With the completion of the
foundation on spring 2006 the SRT project entered its final construction phase. This paper reports on the latest advances
on the SRT project.
The measure of the faint polarized signal of the Cosmic Microwave Background (few percent of the CMB Anisotropy) requires instruments with very low contamination from systematic effects, high stability and high sensitivity. The BaR-SPOrt experiment, in sharing with the SPOrt project on ISS, is based on analog correlation receivers with components custom designed to match all of these requirements. Here we present the architecture, the design analysis and the status of the realization of the 32 GHz receiver.
To measure extremely faint signals like Cosmic Microwave Background Polarization (a few percent of CMB anisotropy) it is necessary to use very high sensitivity radiometers. This means to adopt low noise cryogenic front-end and long integration times. This is the case of BaR-SPOrt (Balloon borne Radiometer for Sky Polarization Observations), an experiment designed to measure the CMB polarization at sub-degree angular scales. In the millimeter range, where coherent radiometers (polarimeters) are typically employed, usual mechanical coolers can represent a limit to the final sensitivity due to their base temperature instability. As a matter of fact, in correlation polarimeter, temperature fluctuations of the front-end devices, can both mimic a polarized signal and severely limit instrumental sensitivity. Here we discuss in detail the thermal design of the cryostat housing the instrument with particular attention to the closed loop cryocooler adopted, which is able to guarantee 6W at 77K with a stability better than 0.1 K over several hours.
BaR-SPOrt (Balloon-borne Radiometers for Sky Polarisation
Observations) is an experiment to measure the linearly polarized
emission of sky patches at 32 and 90 GHz with sub-degree angular
resolution. It is equipped with high sensitivity correlation
polarimeters for simultaneous detection of both the U and Q stokes
parameters of the incident radiation. On-axis telescope is used to
observe angular scales where the expected polarization of the
Cosmic Microwave Background (CMBP) peaks. This project shares most
of the know-how and sophisticated technology developed for the
SPOrt experiment onboard the International Space Station. The
payload is designed to flight onboard long duration stratospheric
balloons both in the Northern and Southern hemispheres where low
foreground emission sky patches are accessible. Due to the
weakness of the expected CMBP signal (in the range of microK),
much care has been spent to optimize the instrument design with
respect to the systematics generation, observing time efficiency
and long term stability. In this contribution we present the
instrument design, and first tests on some components of the 32
SPOrt (Sky Polarization Observatory) is a space experiment to be flown on the International Space Station during Early Utilization Phase aimed at measuring the microwave polarized emission with FWHM = 7 deg, in the frequency range 22-90 GHz. The Galactic polarized emission can be observed at the lower frequencies and the polarization of Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) at 90 GHz, where contaminants are expected to be less important. The extremely low level of the CMB Polarization signal calls for intrinsically stable radiometers. The SPOrt instrument is expressly devoted to CMB polarization measurements and the whole design has been optimized for minimizing instrumental polarization effects. In this contribution we present the receiver architecture based on correlation techniques, the analysis showing its intrinsic stability and the custom hardware development carried out to detect such a low signal.