A research team builds an outrigger telescope to search for FRBs at the Hat Creek Radio Observatory

CHIME to build Telescope Outrigger to search for FRBs at Hat Creek Radio Observatory

Found: Andre Renard, The CHIME Collaboration

The Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) is increasing its ability to pinpoint exactly where fast radiators (FRBs) come from. The company is building a new radio outrigger at the SETI Institute’s Hat Creek Radio Observatory (HCRO), site of the Allen Telescope Array (ATA). The outrigger will operate with the CHIME sound system in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley until CHIME-detected FRBs can be pointed directly into the air. In addition to the new radio telescope at HCRO, CHIME is building outriggers near Princeton, British Columbia on land leased to CHIME by HML Mining Ltd., and at the Green Bank Observatory.

“We are thrilled to host the global CHIME team at the Hat Creek Radio Observatory,” said Andrew Siemion, Bernard M. Oliver Chair for SETI at SETI Institute. “Hosting a CHIME outrigger is a new addition and integration to HCRO’s scientific mission.”

FRBs are a bright, millisecond-wide “flash” to a radio station, coming from far and wide around the world. As they make their small-billion-year journey around Earth, the FRBs take the trick of the liar between galaxies and stars, they become major researchers studying these environments. Although scientists now believe that FRBs are natural sources, they present an interesting astronomical phenomenon. Their high level of spectro-temporal function and transient nature make them an ideal testing ground for robust signal processing systems built for technological research.

With the ability to detect radio 10-100 times faster than other telescopes combined, CHIME has had a significant impact on FRB science. The telescope allowed scientists to observe short bullets with good timing. The limitation of CHIME is that it cannot accurately determine the origin of the FRB. Outriggers can make this radical flight.

“The CHIME phone can detect the position of a speed radio in a part of the sky as large as a full moon. A quarter is stored at about 40 km,” explained Patrick Boyle, Director Senior Director for the CHIME / FRB Outriggers program and Senior Academic Associate in the Department of Physics at McGill University.

Last year researchers at ATA announced the discovery of a two-peaked flash radio that exploded from a new source called FRB20201124A. The ATA is undergoing a maintenance program to improve the telescope feeds and a digital signal processing system to improve the heart and capacity of the instrument. This finding marks the first time FRB had experience with this reproductive system.

The SETI Institute will support the construction of the outrigger in HCRO and is looking forward to future scientific teams to make the outrigger online.


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