Recent discoveries of transient radio events have renewed interest in time-variable astrophysical phenomena. Many radio transient events are rare, requiring long observing times for reliable statistical study. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration/Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Deep Space Network (DSN) tracks spacecraft nearly continuously with 13 large-aperture, low system temperature radio antennas. During normal spacecraft operations, the DSN processes only a small fraction of the pre-detection bandwidth available from these antennas; any information in the remaining bandwidth, e.g., from an astronomical source in the same antenna beam as the spacecraft, is currently ignored. As a firmware modification to the standard DSN tracking receiver, we built a prototype receiver that could be used for astronomical transient surveys. Here, we demonstrate the receiver's utility through observations of bright pulses from the Crab pulsar and describe attributes of potential transient survey observations piggybacking on operational DSN tracks. Â© 2014. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved..
J. Andrew O'Dea, et. al., (2014) Bright microwave pulses from PSR B0531+21 observed with a prototype transient survey receiver.Astronomical Journal147:5. DOI: http://doi.org/10.1088/0004-6256/147/5/100