Urgent replacement of e-MERLIN components

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Physics and Astronomy

Abstract

e-MERLIN is the UK's national facility for radio astronomy imaging. With 7 telescopes across the UK, linked by a dedicated optical fibre network to a powerful correlattion hub at Jodrell Bank Observatory, the array provides radio imaging at centimetre wavelengths with similar resolution to the optical images produced by the Hubble Space Telescope. It is used by a broad range of the UK astrophysics community as well as scientists across the world, for projects from planet and start-formation to galaxy evolution and cosmology, including experiments in dark matter and dark energy. Key to its performance, are the ultra-low noise receivers at the focus of each telescope which collect and amplify the extremely weak signals from these objects. These specialised receivers, designed and built at Jodrell Bank are cooled to approx 13K (13 degrees above Absolute Zero, or -260 degrees Centigrade). This request is for urgent replacement of the crycoolers and compressors needed to operate these cryogenic receivers.

Planned Impact

Scientific and technical research and development in radio astronomy has a broad impact on society as well as scientific advance in many of the Science Challenges outlined by STFC. e-MERLIN research projects will have impact in all four of the key STFC science areas: work on pulsars and gravitational waves allow precise tests of gravity and fundamental physics (STFC Science Challenges C2, D1, D2, D3); searching for fast radio bursts, transients and potential signals from extra-terrestrial intelligence (B3, C4); observations of planet and star-formation probe some of the crucial and poorly understood phases in these processes (B1, A6); studies of galaxy formation and evolution will allow significant advance in understanding how when and where galaxies formed the bulk of their stars (A4, A5) and experiments in cosmic shear and gravitational lensing probe dark matter and dark energy (A3, C4, C5). All these observations require the sensitivity provided by the cryogenic receivers, whose components are requested here.

The wider impact of radio astronomy research is a key part of activities at Jodrell Bank Observatory and the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, which now has over 160,000 visitors/year and a dedicated schools programme reaching more than 10,000 pupils/yr. e-MERLIN science and technology form an important part those exhibits and activities and e-MERLIN staff gives talks and presentations at various levels at many events in the Discovery Centre and elsewhere, including music and science festivals attended by up to 20,000 visitors.

Radio astronomy technology developed as part of e-MERLIN has had a major impact on the UK participation in the Square Kilometre Array project: the UK leads ths signal and data transport consortium for SKA, based on its experience and expertise from e-MERLIN and e-VLBI. Radio astronomy technology has had a wide impact in general, from the development of low noise amplifiers, large parabolic antennas, algorithms for image processing and medical imaging; wi-fi technology was developed by radio astronomers in Australia, following the experiments with dedicated hardware for radio astronomy signal processing.

Publications

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Abbott B (2017) Multi-messenger Observations of a Binary Neutron Star Merger in The Astrophysical Journal

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Argo Megan (2017) e-MERLIN detection of SN2017eaw in NGC6946 in The Astronomer's Telegram

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Atri P (2020) A radio parallax to the black hole X-ray binary MAXI J1820+070 in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters

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Baldi R. D. (2018) LeMMINGs. I. The eMERLIN legacy survey of nearby galaxies. 1.5-GHz parsec-scale radio structures and cores in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Battye R (2020) SuperCLASS - I. The super cluster assisted shear survey: Project overview and data release 1 in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Bruni G (2020) Active galactic nuclei imaging programs of the RadioAstron mission in Advances in Space Research

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Burns R (2020) VLBI observations of the G25.65+1.05 water maser superburst in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

 
Description The award supports the continued operation of e-MERLIN, used by hundreds of scientists in the UK and around the world, to work on many of the key science challenges identified by STFC including studies of the formation of planets around other stars, the formation and evolution of stars and galaxies, the energetic processes around black holes and compact objects, the nature and distribution of dark matter. e-MERLIN also develops and advances techniques in analogue and digital signal processing and image processing.
Exploitation Route Wide range of astrophysical research on the topics mentioned above
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Electronics,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Other

URL http://www.e-merlin.ac.uk
 
Description The award has contributed to the continued operation of the e-MERLIN/VLBI National Facility at Jodrell Bank Observatory. This underpins the scientific operation and output of Jodrell Bank, supporting the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, which attracts over 160,000 visitors/yr including a large schools programme, major music/science festivals, public lecture series etc. Jodrell Bank is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site recognising its unique and pivotal contribution to the development of radio astronomy, including the technique of long baseline interferometry and e-MERLIN, as well as its ongoing scientific output.The scientific vitality of e-MERLIN and Jodrell Bank Observatory is also key to the presence of the international HQ of the Square Kilometre Array Organisation, responsible for the design, construction and operation of the Square Kilometre Array - one of the world's largest science experiments/facilities, amd now an internationalk governmental organisation bound by treaty
Sector Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description STFC PPRP
Amount £12,500,000 (GBP)
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2018 
End 04/2023
 
Description Opticon-RadioNet Pilot 
Organisation ASTRON Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy
Country Netherlands 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Provision of transnational access to e-MERLIN and European VLBI Network. Collaborative work on development, improvement and harmonisation of user services for transnational access to optical and radio facilities
Collaborator Contribution Provision of transnational access to a wide range of optical and radio facilities. Improvments to users services. education and training European astronomical community.
Impact Provision of transnational access to wide range of european optical and radio astronomy facilities
Start Year 2021
 
Description Opticon-RadioNet Pilot 
Organisation Chalmers University of Technology
Country Sweden 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Provision of transnational access to e-MERLIN and European VLBI Network. Collaborative work on development, improvement and harmonisation of user services for transnational access to optical and radio facilities
Collaborator Contribution Provision of transnational access to a wide range of optical and radio facilities. Improvments to users services. education and training European astronomical community.
Impact Provision of transnational access to wide range of european optical and radio astronomy facilities
Start Year 2021
 
Description Opticon-RadioNet Pilot 
Organisation Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe (JIVE)
Country Netherlands 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Provision of transnational access to e-MERLIN and European VLBI Network. Collaborative work on development, improvement and harmonisation of user services for transnational access to optical and radio facilities
Collaborator Contribution Provision of transnational access to a wide range of optical and radio facilities. Improvments to users services. education and training European astronomical community.
Impact Provision of transnational access to wide range of european optical and radio astronomy facilities
Start Year 2021
 
Description Opticon-RadioNet Pilot 
Organisation Max Planck Society
Department Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Provision of transnational access to e-MERLIN and European VLBI Network. Collaborative work on development, improvement and harmonisation of user services for transnational access to optical and radio facilities
Collaborator Contribution Provision of transnational access to a wide range of optical and radio facilities. Improvments to users services. education and training European astronomical community.
Impact Provision of transnational access to wide range of european optical and radio astronomy facilities
Start Year 2021
 
Description Opticon-RadioNet Pilot 
Organisation National Geographic Institute
Country Spain 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Provision of transnational access to e-MERLIN and European VLBI Network. Collaborative work on development, improvement and harmonisation of user services for transnational access to optical and radio facilities
Collaborator Contribution Provision of transnational access to a wide range of optical and radio facilities. Improvments to users services. education and training European astronomical community.
Impact Provision of transnational access to wide range of european optical and radio astronomy facilities
Start Year 2021
 
Description Opticon-RadioNet Pilot 
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Provision of transnational access to e-MERLIN and European VLBI Network. Collaborative work on development, improvement and harmonisation of user services for transnational access to optical and radio facilities
Collaborator Contribution Provision of transnational access to a wide range of optical and radio facilities. Improvments to users services. education and training European astronomical community.
Impact Provision of transnational access to wide range of european optical and radio astronomy facilities
Start Year 2021
 
Description Opticon-RadioNet Pilot 
Organisation University of Cambridge
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Provision of transnational access to e-MERLIN and European VLBI Network. Collaborative work on development, improvement and harmonisation of user services for transnational access to optical and radio facilities
Collaborator Contribution Provision of transnational access to a wide range of optical and radio facilities. Improvments to users services. education and training European astronomical community.
Impact Provision of transnational access to wide range of european optical and radio astronomy facilities
Start Year 2021
 
Description RadioNet 
Organisation Max Planck Society
Department Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution transnational access to e-MERLIN and EVN; R&D in calibration/imaging
Collaborator Contribution transnational access; R&D for radio astronomy instrumentation
Impact transnational access to multiple radio astronomy facilities in Europe resulting in published research, improvements to radio astronomy instrumentation
Start Year 2017
 
Description Banff2011 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact International Square Kilometre Array Forum Meeting (Banff 2011) together with a 2-day meeting on 'Engineering and Industry Opportunities in the SKA' brought together scientists and engineers working on the SKA design with a wide range of industry representatives from large multinationals to SMEs who might be involved in the construction of the SKA. 4 members of the University of Manchester PrepSKA team attended and were involved in plenary sessions and more focussed meetings on how to best engage with industry at this and future stages of this major international project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Public Talk - Lichfield Science & Engineering Soc 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact public talk on development and science of Jodrell Bank & e-MERLIN
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description lovell60 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Public talk at Jodrell Bank Discover Centre
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017