Preparing a Proof-Of-Concept Observation with the Juelich Solar Power Tower
SKA phase 2 sensitivity could be achieved at relatively low cost if we can piggyback a radio astronomy receiver on solar concentrators, of which four square kilometres are operating in the form of solar power towers. However the mirror arrays form a speckle pattern rather than a point focus, but we can restore full sensitivity in principle using a focal-plane array to collect the power from the many speckles and sum it coherently. That is, provided we can predict the speckle pattern from the array geometry sufficiently well. Certainly in simulations it works perfectly well.
To test this in practice we are preparing a proof-of-concept experiment on the Juelich research SPT, for simplicity starting with a single-pixel receiver and with Effelsberg to serve as a phase-reference antenna for obtaining the speckle phases as well as amplitudes in a single-baseline VLBI experiment.
This talk will give background and simulation results and sketch our plans for the first observation.