LUNAR webinar, 8th February 2011

Justin Kasper, Harvard/CfA

Recent results in solar bursts and heliospheric dust with lunar radio analogs



The goal of the Heliophysics project of LUNAR is to conduct studies that support the science and design of a low frequency solar radio array on the near side of the moon.  One component of this project is to use observations from existing experiments as analogs for the lunar array.  In this talk, I will review our accomplishments to date using two existing sets of observations: the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) in Western Australia and the WAVES experiment on the twin STEREO spacecraft.  MWA is an 80-300 MHz radio array currently operating with 32 tiles (32T) of antennas in a prototyping activity.  32T observes at higher frequencies but with smaller physical spacings between antennas than our concepts for lunar arrays, resulting in a very similar configuration as our lunar concept when scaled to lower frequencies.  I will describe our recent report, appearing in ApJL, of the first observations of solar radio bursts with the 32T.  The observations with 32T directly show how a well lunar array would be able to resolve details of particle acceleration in the outer solar corona.  For the STEREO spacecraft, I will present recent work supported by LUNAR on the signatures produced in radio receivers in space by dust impacts.  Our results show that appropriately configured antennas can be used to determine the mass distribution of dust with high sensitivity.  Given the large collecting area of proposed lunar radio arrays, I will show that dust impacts will be a frequent signal and should perhaps be elevated to a primary science objective of these projects.