Allen Telescope Array (ATA) Specifications | SRI International

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Hat Creek Radio Observatory

Allen Telescope Array (ATA) Specifications

ATA at Hat Creek Radio ObservatoryThe ATA at Hat Creek Radio Observatory is a 42-dish radio telescope that can operate as a snapshot camera, rapidly surveying large swaths of the sky. It operates over multiple frequency bands concurrently. The ATA can also operate as a single large dish (by pointing all dishes in the same direction) or as 42 independent dishes (looking in different areas of the sky simultaneously).

The ATA was built by the SETI Institute and the University of California, with major funding from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.



Latitude: 40.817°N
Longitude: 121.470°W
Altitude: 1008 m

Number of elements 42 antennas with cryogenic feeds
Size Element diameter: 6.1 m
Array maximum baseline: 300 m
Frequency coverage 0.5-11.2 GHz (future plans to extend into Ku-band)
Field of view Resolution: 3.5/fGHz
  • @ L-band (1.5 GHz) 2.3° - 170”
  • @ S-band (3 GHz) 1.2° - 83”
  • @ C-band (6 GHz) 0.58° - 42”
Pointing limits

17° to 87° elevation, full 360° azimuth
Tracking speed: 2°/sec

Primary modes

Correlator (x2): Produces intensity images

  • Bandwidth Modes: 104, 52, 26, 13, 6, 3 MHz
  • Spectral resolution: BW/1024

Beamformer (x3): Produces 2 waveforms

  • Sampling: 104.8576 MHz complex
  • Internal spectrometer: 6.5 kHz.
  • Beam to disk output: 51.2 k frames/sec reconstituted as time domain

Direct to disk (x1): Produces 68 waveforms

  • Bandwidth: up to 12 MHz
  • 51.2 k frames/sec, complex, variable bandwidth (user-specified)
  • Software provides data as complex time domain samples
  • Data are time stamped and synced to 1pps

Remote monitoring and operations of array via 10 Gbps Internet

  • Operations are typically controlled by Linux command line utilities
  • GUI interfaces are available and can be customized to meet project needs
Equipment Specially designed antenna feeds allow for low noise (~70 K) across a very large frequency span. Four dual-polarity tunings allows for simultaneous, independent observations.
Design The amplified signal, containing the entire received bandwidth, is brought from each antenna to the processing room on optical fiber cables before being digitized and processed. This design allows for easy upgrades in the processing room as technology progresses, while keeping the same antennas and feeds.