The SPARCS Working Group streamlines efforts towards SKA surveys

In a time when precursor instruments to the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) from all over the world are coming online and start generating data, the recently founded SKA PAthfinder Radio Continuum Survey Working Group will make sure that the radio-astronomical community achieves good coordination and communication in tackling scientific and technological challenges.

In a new review paper, accepted for publication in the Publications of the Astronomical Society Australia (PASA), CAASTRO Partner Investigator Ray Norris (CSIRO) and his co-authors describe the current state-of-play of these new SKA pathfinders with the aim to facilitate sharing resources and expertise and thereby maximise the science return.

The paper provides a baseline of knowledge for the teams behind these next-generation telescopes: Europe-based APERTIF, LOFAR, e-EVN and eMERLIN, Meerkat in South Africa, VLA in the US, and of course ASKAP and MWA in Western Australia – each planning to conduct a radio continuum survey with the primary science objective of understanding the formation and evolution of galaxies over cosmic time and the cosmological parameters and large-scale structures that drive it.

These highly sensitive new instruments with their large dynamic ranges allow surveys to go beyond the traditional limits of radio astronomy which means that results will be less similar to ‘old’ radio signals than to data obtained at different wavelengths – yet another incentive for strong collaborative efforts within the astronomical community. As teams are working towards sophisticated hardware and software solutions to address calibration, imaging, classification etc, highlighting commonalities and parallels between individual systems can save significant amounts of time and money and can fast-track progress towards achieving our science goals.

Publication details:

Ray P. Norris, J. Afonso, D. Bacon, Rainer Beck, Martin Bell, R. J. Beswick, Philip Best, Sanjay Bhatnagar, Annalisa Bonafede, Gianfranco Brunetti, Tamas Budavari, Rossella Cassano, J. J. Condo, Catherine Cress, Arwa Dabbech, I. Feain, Rob Fender, Chiara Ferrari, B. M. Gaensler, G. Giovannini, Marijke Haverkorn, George Heald, Kurt van der Heyden, A. M. Hopkins, M. Jarvis, Melanie Johnston-Hollitt, Roland Kothes, Huib van Langevelde, Joseph Lazio, Minnie Y. Mao, Alejo Martınez-Sansigre, David Mary, Kim McAlpine, E. Middelberg, Eric Murphy, P. Padovani, Zsolt Paragi, I. Prandoni, A. Raccanelli, Emma Rigby, I. G. Roseboom, H. Rottgering, Jose Sabater, Mara Salvato, Anna M. M. Scaife, Richard Schilizzi, N. Seymour, Dan J. B. Smith, Grazia Umana, G.-B. Zhao, Peter-Christian Zinn

Radio Continuum Surveys with Square Kilometre Array Pathfinders