The Upgraded GMRT : Current Status and Future Prospects

Tue, December 08, 2015

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The Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) is today a major international Radio Astronomy facility working in five discrete bands in the frequency range of 150 MHz to 1500 MHz, with a maximum instantaneous bandwidth of 32 MHz. Consisting of 30 fully steerable antennas of 45 metre diameter each, it can be used as an aperture-synthesis array for imaging, as well as a phased array to study compact radio sources such as pulsars. The GMRT has produced several important results in the past 12 years of operations — some interesting ones will be highlighted.

The GMRT is undergoing a major upgrade that will improve its sensitivity by a factor of up to three and make it a much more versatile instrument. The goal is to have seamless frequency coverage from about 100 to 1500 MHz, with a maximum instantaneous bandwidth of 400 MHz; improved receiver systems with higher G/Tsys; versatile digital back-end correlator and pulsar receiver using the latest FPGA and GPU technologies; revamped servo system; sophisticated monitor and control system; and matching improvements in infrastructure and computing. This upgradewill keep the GMRT at the forefront as one of the most sensitive facility in the 200to 1000 MHz range, till the SKA phase I comes along. Most of the sub-systems are past the prototyping phase and the sub-systems are in mass production and deliveryphase; a 16 antenna phase II of the upgraded GMRT has been released to internalusers for trials. Overview of the upgrade activities, their current status and future plans will be discussed in detail.