This website requires JavaScript.

The MPIfR-MeerKAT Galactic Plane survey I -- System setup and early results

P.V. PadmanabhE.D. BarrS.S. Sridhar ...+29 M. M. Nyamai
Mar 2023
Galactic plane radio surveys play a key role in improving our understandingof a wide range of astrophysical phenomena from neutron stars and Galacticmagnetic fields to stellar formation and evolution. Performing such a survey onthe latest interferometric telescopes produces large data rates necessitating ashift towards fully or quasi-real-time data analysis with data being stored foronly the time required to process them. This has instilled a need to re-devisescientific strategies and methods for the effective management of telescopeobserving time. We describe here the setup for the 3000 hourMax-Planck-Institut f\"ur Radioastronomie (MPIfR) MeerKAT Galactic Plane survey(MMGPS). The survey is unique by operating in a commensal mode. Key scienceobjectives of the survey including the discovery of new pulsars and transientsas well as studies of Galactic magnetism, the interstellar medium and starformation rates. We explain the strategy coupled with the necessary hardwareand software infrastructure needed for data reduction in the imaging, spectraland time domains. We have so far discovered 78 new pulsars including 17 binarypulsars. We have also developed an imaging pipeline sensitive to the order of afew tens of micro-Jansky and a spatial resolution of a few arcseconds. Furtherscience operations are about to commence with an S-Band receiver system builtin-house and operated in collaboration with the South African Radio AstronomyObservatory (SARAO). Spectral line commissioning observations at S-band alreadyillustrate the spectroscopic capabilities of this instrument. These resultshave not only opened new avenues for Galactic science but also laid a strongfoundation for surveys with future telescopes like the Square Kilometre Array(SKA).