MRI: Development of the OVRO-LWA - A Low Frequency Radio Interferometric All-Sky Telescope

  • Hallinan, Gregg (PI)
  • Bowman, Judd J.D. (CoPI)
  • Gary, Dale (CoPI)
  • Isella, Andrea A. (CoPI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


The concept of a radio telescope typically evokes imagery of giant dishes moving in unison, peering towards some small part of the sky. This notion is outdated - the Owens Valley Radio Observatory - Long Wavelength Array (OVRO-LWA) combines the signals from hundreds of small, cheap antennas to image the entire sky instantaneously, representing a revolutionary new generation of radio telescope. The resulting data stream is enormous (12 Petabytes per day), but Moore's Law has finally made it possible to continuously process and distill these data. By imaging all the sky, all the time, the OVRO-LWA can deliver a number of key science goals simultaneously. It can scan thousands of nearby stellar systems for the radio signature of exoplanet magnetospheres, a key ingredient for planetary habitability. It can probe our Cosmic Dawn, the earliest stages of our Universe when the very first stars formed. It will search the sky on nanosecond timescales for evidence of the highest energy cosmic rays, and it will provide continuous monitoring of the Sun (which is relevant for space weather), and Jovian system.

This proposed program will progress the OVRO-LWA from a proof of concept to a continuously operational facility, and the most powerful radio telescope on the planet operating at low radio frequencies (

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Effective start/end date10/1/193/31/23


  • National Science Foundation: $2,123,733.00


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