Signal Processing Tools for Radio Astronomy

Activity: Talk or presentationTalk or presentation at a workshop, seminar, course or other meeting


Radio astronomy is known for its very large telescope dishes, but is currently making a transition towards the use of large numbers of small elements. For example, the Low Frequency Array, commissioned in 2010, uses about 50 stations, each consisting of at least 96 low band antennas and 768 high band antennas. For the Square Kilometer Array, planned for 2024, the numbers will be even larger.
These instruments pose interesting array signal processing challenges. To present some aspects, we start by describing how the measured correlation data is traditionally converted into an image, and translate this into an array signal processing framework. This paves the way for a number of alternative image reconstruction techniques, such as a Weighted Least Squares approach. Self-calibration of the instrument is required to handle instrumental effects such as the unknown, possibly direction dependent, response of the receiving elements, as well as a unknown propagation conditions through the Earth's troposphere and ionosphere. Array signal processing techniques seem well suited to handle these challenges. The fact that the noise power at each antenna element may be different motivates the use of Factor Analysis, as a more appropriate alternative to the eigenvalue decomposition that is commonly used in array processing. Factor Analysis also proves to be very useful for interference mitigation. Interestingly, image reconstruction, calibration and interference mitigation are often intertwined in radio astronomy, turning this into an area with very challenging signal processing problems.
Period15 Jun 2013
Event titleSTATOS 2013: Statistics, Optimization, and Signal Processing
Event typeOther
LocationDarmstadt, Germany