9 OTTOBRE 2018 ore 15:00

Life On The Bleeding Edge With MeerKAT

Prof. Dr. Oleg Smirnov (Rhodes University/SKA SA, Sudafrica)
Life On The Bleeding Edge With MeerKAT

The MeerKAT array, an "SKA precursor" interferometer recently inaugurated in the Karoo, South Africa, has been pouring out full 64-dish data since earlier in the year, already yielding some iconic images of the Southern radio sky. MeerKAT's design presents unique observational opportunities, but also new challenges in terms of data reduction. In particular, the unblocked aperture (offset Gregorian optics) makes for a primary beam shape that significantly alleviates direction-dependent effects (DDEs) associated with parallactic angle rotation; however the wide field of view and extreme sensitivity means that remaining second-order DDEs must be treated very carefully, and that the primary beam needs to be very well modeled and accounted for in order for the ambitious science goals of the instrument to be met. A new generation of calibration and imaging software has been developed to meet these needs. In this talk, I will present some early MeerKAT commissioning images, discuss the progress in calibration and imaging techniques that has made these images possible, and highlight some of the data challenges that lie ahead.