The dynamic spectral signatures from lunar occultation: A simulation study

  • Jigisha V. PatelEmail author
  • Avinash A. Deshpande


Lunar occultation, which occurs when the Moon crosses sight-lines to distant sources, has been studied extensively through apparent intensity pattern resulting from Fresnel diffraction, and has been successfully used to measure angular sizes of extragalactic sources. However, such observations till date have been mainly over narrow bandwidth, or averaged over the observing band, and the associated intensity pattern in time has rarely been examined in detail as a function of frequency over a wide band. Here, we revisit the phenomenon of lunar occultation with a view to study the associated intensity pattern as a function of both time and frequency. Through analytical and simulation approach, we examine the variation of intensity across the dynamic spectra, and look for chromatic signatures which could appear as discrete dispersed signal tracks, when the diffraction pattern is adequately smoothed by a finite source size. We particularly explore circumstances in which such diffraction pattern might closely follow the interstellar dispersion law followed by pulsars and transients, such as the Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs), which remain a mystery even after a decade of their discovery. In this paper, we describe details of this investigation, relevant to radio frequencies at which FRBs have been detected, and discuss our findings, along with their implications. We also show how a band-averaged light curve suffers from temporal smearing, and consequent reduction in contrast of intensity variation, with increasing bandwidth. We suggest a way to recover the underlying diffraction signature, as well as the sensitivity improvement commensurate with usage of large bandwidths.


Moon occultation ISM: general radio continuum: general 


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Copyright information

© Indian Academy of Sciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Raman Research InstituteBengaluru India

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