GALFACTS: A Full-Stokes Continuum Survey of the Arecibo Sky

S. J. Gibson (NAIC)

[Special session talk]

BAAS 37#4

The radio continuum sky has been surveyed at many frequencies and angular resolutions. However, ALFA's unparalleled combination of sensitivity, resolution, and mapping speed will provide critical new data for a wide range of cutting-edge continuum science. Areas of investigation include: (1) polarimetric constraints on the large-scale Galactic magnetic field, including the disk-halo interface; (2) magnetic field studies of supernova remnants (SNRs), molecular clouds, and H II regions; (3) 3-D Faraday tomography of the ambient magneto-ionic medium, including turbulent cascades; (4) high-resolution, total-intensity imaging of Galactic loops and spurs, low-surface-brightness SNRs, H II regions, and the general interstellar medium, with separation into thermal and nonthermal components by multiwavelength analysis; (5) an extremely sensitive point-source catalog, including polarimetry and variability constraints; and (6) characterization of the ``true'' Galactic synchrotron foreground, which is essential for CMB studies at higher frequencies. All of these topics will be addressed by the G-ALFA Continuum Transit Survey (GALFACTS), a 5-year effort to map the entire Arecibo continuum sky in all four Stokes parameters at the highest possible sensitivity, using a 1000-channel, 300-MHz bandwidth spectrometer to eliminate contamination by RFI and ``unwrap'' frequency-dependent Faraday rotation effects. Further information can be found at

This work is supported by the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center, which is operated by Cornell University under Cooperative Agreement with the National Science Foundation.