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CIRADA – Canadian Initiative for Radio Astronomy Data Analysis

The Canadian Initiative for Radio Astronomy Data Analysis (CIRADA) is a $10M program intended to create sophisticated new software products and catalogues for studying the sky at radio wavelengths.

In 2022, CIRADA released an image cut-out server for the new Rapid ASKAP Continuum Survey (RACS), new software to efficiently correct radio data for ionospheric Faraday rotation, and new standardized formats and associated toolkits for sharing radio polarization data.

In 2023, the CIRADA team will produce science-ready products for the first full data sets from the Very Large Array Sky Survey (VLASS), and will release sky-monitoring data, polarization maps and absorption spectra produced by the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME).

When completed, CIRADA will comprise the infrastructure, computing capability, and expertise needed to convert the enormous raw data streams from next-generation telescopes into sophisticated digital products that astronomers can use to make new discoveries.

Astronomers will use the images and catalogues produced by CIRADA to map cosmic magnetism, study the evolution of galaxies over a span of billions of years, investigate cosmic explosions, and study the overall process by which the universe’s supply of gas is gradually converted into stars.

The centre will allow Canada to play a major role in the Very Large Array Sky Survey (VLASS) to make a radio map of almost the entire sky in unprecedented detail. It will also help build the Canadian capacity needed to participate in what will be the largest and most powerful radio telescope ever constructed: the Square Kilometre Array.

Major partners in the centre include observatories and researchers at various universities across North America, including the US National Radio Astronomy Observatory, University of Alberta, University of Manitoba, and the National Research Council. Additional partners include McGill University, Queen’s University, University of British Columbia, Cornell University, University of Minnesota, Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, University of Cape Town, University of the Western Cape, and University of California Berkeley.

The project is led by Dunlap Institute Director, Professor Bryan Gaensler, and is funded through the Canadian Foundation for Innovation.

For more:

CIRADA website

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The Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array radio telescope array in New Mexico. Image: NRAO/AUI; Bob Tetro