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Current and Future Science Using the 12 Meter Telescope at the Arecibo Observatory

Presentation #314.04 in the session X-ray and Radio Facilities and Instruments.

Published onJun 29, 2022
Current and Future Science Using the 12 Meter Telescope at the Arecibo Observatory

Following the December 01, 2020 collapse of the 305-m telescope at the Arecibo Observatory, the 12-meter telescope located on a nearby peak on site was returned to working condition, providing observational continuity in support of observatory scientific efforts. Over the course of about a year the 12-meter was restored to an operational status, with some key upgrades planned for the future, including a wideband (2.3-14 GHz), cryogenic receiver system. This presentation reports on the science objectives currently being pursued by the 12-meter telescope, as well as on plans for the near future that take advantage of anticipated hardware additions.

Commissioning observations near 8.5 GHz have been completed, including fringe tests to allow for future observations with the European Very Long Baseline Interferometer Network (EVN). Using the X-band receiver system, we are testing the feasibility of 8.5 GHz observations to study the continuum radio variability of active galactic nuclei (AGN), as well as making successful recombination line observations of HII regions. We have already detected two of the brightest pulsars, PSRs B0833-45 and B0329+54. Daily, we are also imaging solar radio emissions at 8.5 GHz, by making east-west scans of the Sun and covering an angular range of ± 1 deg with respect to the center of the Sun.

The future of the 12-meter telescope has a similarly packed schedule, via the planned wideband, cryogenic receiver system. Spectral line observations will involve CH mapping of the galactic plane and a spectral line survey that includes prebiotic molecules. High frequency interplanetary scintillation (IPS) measurements will provide a three dimensional view of the solar wind. We plan to monitor bright pulsars with high-cadence to study their short- and long-term emission and rotation variabilities, as well as monitor a few magnetars with the pulsar observations to study their different emission phases. The telescope will also be a dedicated instrument for FRB searches with real-time detection capabilities. In addition to its scientific role, the 12-meter telescope will be used to train students of the joint AO-GBO “Single-Dish Summer School” and will participate in the Skynet network operated out of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

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