Radio astronomy in the pre-SKA era: What can Apertif do for you?

With the Square Kilometre Array still several years away, SKA pathfinder telescopes are already enabling transformational science in radio astronomy with their astounding improvements in field-of-view, sensitivity, spatial resolution, and spectral bandwidth coverage. The APERture Tile In Focus (Apertif) is one such SKA pathfinder: a phased array feed instrument upgrade to the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope that increases the field-of-view by a factor of 25 with 300 MHz bandwidth, making it a powerful instrument for radio continuum and polarization imaging surveys at 1.4 GHz, 21 cm spectral lines surveys, and radio transient searches in the northern hemisphere. Apertif recently completed its 32 month campaign imaging 2200+ square degrees in continuum, polarization, and spectral lines at 1.4 GHz. The sky coverage is complementary to existing multiwavelength surveys, from SDSS (optical) to LoTSS (150 MHz), and the Apertif imaging surveys have already discovered extremely rare objects (Intra-Hour Variable sources), characterized unusual sources (OH Megamaser in a merging galaxy), and contributed to improving our understanding in established fields (the energetics of radio jets, among others).

My goal in this talk is to get you excited about what newly released and upcoming Apertif data can do for you and your science! I will introduce the commensal imaging surveys; highlight the science capabilities and first big science results; and show how Apertif fits in the radio survey landscape (and perhaps the multi-wavelength study of your favorite objects). In the second part I will demonstrate how to access the data, and showcase some of the state-of-the art (Virtual Reality!) tools we are using to visualize results in 3D at the IAA.

03/05/2022 - 12:30
Dr Kelley Hess
Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía - CSIC, Granada , Spain