Murchison Widefield Array

ASVO-MWA status: Design study completed in October 2015.

The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) is a low-frequency radio telescope, located at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Western Australia where the future Square Kilometre Array (SKA) low-frequency array will be built. Owned and operated by Curtin University on behalf of a large international partnership, MWA and is the first of the three official SKA Precursors to be operational. It uses a novel design to have a wide field of view on the sky and be highly versatile and adaptable through signal processing rather than through moving parts.
The MWA is performing large surveys of the entire Southern Hemisphere sky and acquiring deep targeted observations, which will generate up to 9 PB of data by 2016 that is being stored at the Pawsey supercomputing centre in Perth. In order to maximise access to, and science extracted from, this unique dataset,  Astronomy Australia Ltd (AAL) funded Curtin University and the ASVO-TAO team from Swinburne University to undertake a design study to investigate the requirements and technical solutions to build the ASVO-MWA Node. The design study concluded in October 2015 with a series of reports that describe an exciting opportunity to provide MWA data products to the broader research community.  AAL is now exploring options for implementing the ASVO-MWA design.

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Using a long-exposure and the light of the full moon to illuminate the landscape, this image shows one of the 128 ‘tiles’ of the Murchison Widefield Array. Credit: Pete Wheeler, the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research.