Bob Watson's Home Page
I'm a post-doc working for the Jodrell Bank Observatory, University of Manchaster out at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) in Tenerife, Spain. I am sited here as one of my duties is the site maintence of the Very Small Array (VSA), a state-of-the-art 14-element microwave interferometer array studying the anisotropy of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB).
For the past 20 years or so I have been involved in the design, construction, installation, control, observations and analysis of the various CMB experiments in which Jodrell Bank, University of Manchester have been involved. This started with the Tenerife experiments back in 1984, with the old dual-beam 10 GHz radiometer for my M.Sc. project for what should have been just a 6 month observing run. I'm still here.
My main interest is in the experimental measurement of the anisotropy of the CMB and it's angular power spectrum and foregrounds that can affect the accuracy of that measurement.
Current work involves running the VSA in it's new super-extended mode of observations, with 14 new 92x65 cm carbon-fibre mirrors spead over the full 3.5x4.0 m extent of it's moveable table. This will allow maps to be made with a resolution of up to 7 arcmins, allowing the power spectrum to be made up to spherical harmonic l=2500 where a mysterious access of power seems to exist.
I am also involved in the COSMOSOMAS experiment, a circular scanning instrument with a 1 degree beam working at 11, 13, 15 and 17 GHz, which proving to be a useful tool in the study of microwave foregrounds from the galaxy.
Further I am involved in delevoping an algorithm to find HII regions in large images of face-on spiral galaxies.
Since my main focus has been on the acquisition and offline analysis software, which has developed into a strong interest in Linux, Java (see Moon applet), perl and currently python (and open source software in general).