KAT-7

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KAT-7
SKA site, South Africa 2014 54.jpg
KAT-7 in 2014
Location(s) Northern Cape Edit this on Wikidata, South Africa Edit this on Wikidata
Coordinates 30°43′16″S 21°24′40″E / 30.721°S 21.411°E / -30.721; 21.411Coordinates: 30°43′16″S 21°24′40″E / 30.721°S 21.411°E / -30.721; 21.411
Organization NRF
Department of Science and Technology[1]
SKA South Africa Project
Altitude 1,100 m (3,600 ft)
Wavelength radio 3 centimetres (1.2 in) to 30 centimetres (12 in)
Built 2010
First light 2009
Telescope style dish
Diameter 12 m (39 ft 4 in)
Collecting area ~2,000 square metres (22,000 sq ft) in KAT-7
Focal length 26 m to 185 m
Website www.ska.ac.za
KAT-7 is located in South Africa
KAT-7
Location of KAT-7

KAT-7 is a radio telescope constructed in the Northern Cape of South Africa. Part of the Karoo Array Telescope project, it is the precursor engineering test bed to the larger MeerKAT telescope, but it has become a science instrument in its own right. The construction was completed in 2011 and commissioned in 2012. It also served as a technology demonstrator for South Africa's bid to host the Square Kilometre Array.[2] KAT-7 is the first Radio telescope to be built with a composite reflector and uses a stirling pump for 75 K cryogenic cooling. The telescope was built to test various system for the MeerKAT array, from the ROACH correlators designed and manufactured in Cape Town, now used by various telescopes internationally, to composite construction techniques.[3] With the short baselines the telescope is suited to observing diffuse sources, but will begin VLBI observation in 2013.

Technical Specifications[edit]

KAT-7 consist of 7 dishes of 12 metres in diameter each a Prime Focus Reflecting telescope.[4]

MeerKAT supports a wide range of observing modes, including deep continuum, polarisation and spectral line imaging, pulsar timing and transient searches. A range of standard data products are provided, including an imaging pipeline. A number of "data spigots" are also available to support user-provided instrumentation. Significant design and qualification efforts are planned to ensure high reliability in order to achieve low operational cost and high availability.

Key performance parameters
Parameter Value
Number of antennae 7
Dish diameter 12 m
Minimum baseline 26 m
Maximum baseline 185 m
Frequency Range 1200 MHz - 1950 MHz
Instantaneous Bandwidth 256 MHz
Polarisation Linear (H + V)
Tsys < 35 K across the entire frequency band (~30 K average)for all elevation angles > 30 deg
Elevation 2 - 95 degrees
Correlator Modes:
Mode # Bands Band Bandwidth Channel Bandwidth Available
Wideband 1 256 MHz 390.625 kHz Yes
8k Wideband 1 256 MHz 48.8 kHz Yes
HI Spectral Line 1 >= 33.4 MHz <= 4.8 kHz ~ Oct 2012
OH Spectral Line 1 400/32 = 12.5 MHz 1.5 kHz ~ Jun 2012
OH Spectral Line 1 400/128 = 3.1 MHz 381 Hz ~ Jun 2012

Performance[edit]

In April 2010 four of the seven dishes were linked together as an integrated system to produce its first interferometric image of an astronomical object. In Dec 2010, there was a successful detection of very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) fringes between the Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory's 26 m dish and one of the KAT-7 dishes.[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External video
Creamer Media's Shannon O'Donnell speaks to Engineering News senior contributing editor Keith Campbell about the MeerKAT radio telescope. 24 April 2009
  1. ^ "About MeerKAT". SKA South Africa. Retrieved 2009-06-30. 
  2. ^ Campbell, Keith (2009-04-03). "An array of technology spin-offs emerges as the ‘MeerKAT’ radio telescope gains traction". Martin Creamer Engineering News. Retrieved 2009-06-30. 
  3. ^ "International Correlator Collaboration |". Retrieved 2012-05-11. 
  4. ^ "KAT-7". SKA South Africa Project. Retrieved 20 January 2012. 
  5. ^ First HartRAO-KAT-7 VLBI fringes signal new capability

External links[edit]