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Paper: VAST: A Real-time Pipeline for Detecting Radio Transients and Variables on the Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) Telescope
Volume: 461, Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems XXI
Page: 725
Authors: Banyer, J.; Murphy, T.; the VAST Collaboration
Abstract: The Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) is a next generation radio telescope currently under construction in Western Australia. The fast survey speed and wide field of view make it an ideal instrument for blind transients searches. The ASKAP Variable and Slow Transients (VAST) survey is a one of the major science programs planned for ASKAP. The scientific goals of VAST include the detection and characterisation of a wide range of transient and variable phenomena, from gamma-ray burst afterglows to extreme scattering events, on timescales of 5 seconds or longer. We describe the data and processing challenges involved in running the VAST real-time transient detection pipeline. ASKAP will produce 2.5 GB of visibility data per second, transformed into one 8GB image cube every 5 seconds. Each cube will contain approximately twenty 100 megapixel images with 100s of radio sources detected in each epoch. The VAST pipeline will measure and monitor all of these sources, detect variables and transients and generate alerts using the VOEvent framework. The goal of the VAST Design Study is to develop a prototype pipeline to establish and demonstrate the functionality of the final ASKAP pipeline. We give an overview of the prototype pipeline's functionality, technical implementation and current status.
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