The Green Bank Telescope: Transformational Science for the Next Decade.
The Robert C Byrd Green Bank Telescope has met its design goal of providing high-quality observations at 115 GHz. The accurate small beam of the telescope at high frequencies is leveraged by deployment of multi beam receivers. An overview is presented. Observers now have access to the new, 16-pixel, 3-mm Argus receiver, which is providing high-dynamic range images over wide fields for the multitude of spectral lines between 85 and 115 GHz. The successful performance of Argus, and its modular design, demonstrates that receivers with many more pixels could be built for the GBT. A 12 x 12 array of the Argus design would have mapping speeds about nine times faster than Argus without suffering any degradation in performance for the outer pixels in the array. The Observatory plans to build the next-generation Argus instrument (Argus+) with 144-pixels, a footprint 5'x5', and 7" resolution at 110 GHz. The project will be a collaboration between the Green Bank Observatory and university groups, who will supply key components. The key science drivers for Argus+ are studies of molecular filaments in the Milky Way, studies of molecular clouds in nearby galaxies, and the observations of rapidly evolving solar system objects. Observers also have access to MUSTANG-2, a 223-feedhorn bolometer camera which was commissioned on the GBT in spring 2016, and was offered for observations on a shared risk basis, in collaboration with the instrument team, in the 2018A GBO proposal call. Several features distinguish it from its predecessor, MUSTANG:
A new, microstrip-coupled detector design yields higher sensitivity and less susceptibility to environmental microphonics.
Detectors are feedhorn coupled, with the sum of two linear polarizations measured by a single TES per feed.
The instantaneous field of view is 4 arcminutes (vs 42 arcseconds for MUSTANG)
The receiver design incorporates a tilted refrigerator and receiver rotator, resulting in much lower dependence of cooling performance on telescope elevation.
The detector readout is the first astronomical use of microwave resonators to multiplex TES bolometers.
MUSTANG-2 has been developed by a collaboration including the University of Pennsylvania, NIST, NRAO, the University of Michigan, and Cardiff University.
A 7-pixel K-band Feed Array covering 18-28 GHz with Dual polarization feeds and a noise temperature < 40-50 K has been available for several years. The array offers an instantaneous bandwidth/beam of 1.8 GHz. Future upgrade concepts under study envision increasing the number of beams by an order of magnitude.