Figure 1 -- Satellite imagery of the OVRO LWA

News and Updates

The LWA

The Owens Valley Long Wavelength Array (LWA) is a low-frequency radio interferometer composed of 256 crossed broadband dipole antennas. The LWA band covers 28 to 88 MHz (FM radio stations drown out astrophysical signals above 88 MHz and the ionosphere becomes opaque below 10-20 MHz).

The Owens Valley LWA currently hosts LEDA, the largest correlator (in terms of the number of input signals) ever built. This allows us to perform full cross-correlation of all 512 signal paths. This unprecedented capability coupled with the all-sky sensitivity of a dipole antenna allows the array to image the entire visible sky as frequently as is computationally feasible (of order once per second). Once completed, the Owens Valley LWA will be the most powerful radio telescope operational below 100 MHz.

Science Goals

The LWA's full cross-correlation and all-sky sensitivity is designed primarily for the study of high redshift HI as a probe of the epoch of reionization and fast-cadence all-sky imaging for the detection of low frequency transients, such as coherent radio emission from exoplanets and highly-dispersed bursts of unknown but likely exotic origin. The LWA's all-sky imaging will also enable the detection and monitoring of coronal mass ejections from nearby stars. A significant amount of observing time will also be devoted to solar dynamic imaging spectroscopy.

The LWA is located at the Owens Valley Radio Observatory (OVRO), a Caltech-operated observatory near Bishop, California. Construction on the array began in 2012, and will be completed by 2014. The Owens Valley LWA project was enabled by the kind donation of Deborah Castleman and Harold Rosen.