Sabrina Berger

Optimizing Our Search for Fast Radio Bursts with Realfast at the Very Large Array Telescope

The Very Large Array (VLA) radio interferometer in New Mexico is an excellent instrument to look for radio transients such as fast radio bursts (FRBs). FRBs are intense radio signals lasting milliseconds that do not yet have a confirmed origin. An interferometer employs an array of radio telescopes to observe radio frequencies. FRBs are a new major interest in radio astronomy because of their mysterious nature and increasing number of observations. Many radio telescopes are beginning to design and construct FRB pipelines that search incoming data in real time. Besides detecting FRBs, the software and signal processing techniques developed while implementing an FRB search pipeline have other important applications to the radio astronomy community. Real time pipelines are data intensive and improving the algorithms and learning how to best manage the flow of data will be very useful for other transient search pipelines. I will be exploring the accuracy and efficiency of realfast, a software pipeline tailored to search for FRBs at the VLA.

Message to Sponsor

Thanks to the Anselm M&PS Fund I was able to do research this summer that I absolutely loved. My SURF experience also positively affected my plans for graduate school. My connection with my advisor has opened up possibilities to apply to graduate schools in this field of research this fall. I also gained more confidence doing independent research and proposing new ideas to big research projects. Overall, I am extremely thankful for the opportunity Anselm M&PS Fund provided me this summer and know my experience will serve me well for a long time to come in my career in astronomy.
  • Major: Physics and Astrophysics
  • Sponsor: Anselm M&PS
  • Mentor: Casey Law and Carl Heiles