All-Stokes Parameterization of the Main Beam and First Sidelobe for the Arecibo Radio Telescope

Authors: Carl Heiles, Phil Perillat, Michael Nolan, Duncan Lorimer, Ramesh Bhat, Tapasi Ghosh, E. Howell, Murray Lewis, Karen O'Neil, Chris Salter, Snezana Stanimirovic

Published: Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, accepted (2001)

We describe a scheme that characterizes the main beam and sidelobe in all Stokes parameters employing parameters that allow reconstruction of the complete beam patterns and, also, afford an easy way to see how the beam changes with azimuth, zenith angle, and time. For the main beam in Stokes I the parameters include the beam width, ellipticity and its orientation, coma and its orientation, the point-source gain, the integrated gain (or, equivalently, the main beam efficiency); for the other Stokes parameters the beam parameters include beam squint and beam squash. For the first sidelobe ring in Stokes I the parameters include an 8-term Fourier series describing the height, radius, and radial width; for the other Stokes parameters they include only the sidelobe's fractional polarization. We illustrate the technique by applying it to the Arecibo telescope. The main beam width is smaller and the sidelobe levels higher than for a uniformly-illuminated aperture of the same effective area. These effects are modeled modestly well by a blocked aperture, with the blocked area equal to about 10% of the effective area (this corresponds to 5% physical blockage). In polarized emission, the effects of beam squint (difference in pointing direction between orthogonal polarizations) and squash (difference in beamwidth between orthogonal polarizations) do not correspond to theoretical expectation and are higher than expected; these effects are almost certainly caused by the blockage. The first sidelobe is highly polarized because of blockage.

Paper (postscript, with figures - 141.1 kb)