The Frequency Agile Solar Radiotelescope (FASR) is a solar-dedicated, ground based, interferometric array optimized to perform broadband imaging spectroscopy from ~ 0.1-30+ GHz. It will do so with the angular, spectral, and temporal resolution required to exploit radio emission from the Sun as a diagnostic of the wide variety of astrophysical processes that occur there. FASR represents a major advance over existing radioheliographs, and is expected to remain the world's premier solar radio instrument for two decades or more after completion. FASR will be a versatile and powerful instrument, providing unique data to a broad users community. Solar, solar-terrestrial, and space physicists will exploit FASR to attack a broad science program, including problems of fundamental interest: coronal magnetography, solar flares and particle acceleration, drivers of space weather, and the thermal structure and dynamics of the solar atmosphere. A design study and implementation planning are underway. Recent progress is reviewed here.
The Frequency Agile Solar Radiotelescope (FASR) will observe the Sun over a wide range of radio frequencies and make high spatial resolution images at many frequencies nearly simultaneously. FASR will need to be able to observe both the very bright, usually compact emission from solar flares as well as much fainter fluctuations in the solar chromosphere across a broad range of spatial scales (from 1 arcsec to 1 degree) at high time resolution, and these constraints impose severe requirements on telescope design. We discuss the problem of imaging the Sun at radio wavelengths and present simulations of imaging the thermal free-free emission from the Sun's atmosphere using models based on EUV data.
For many years, ground-based radio observations of the Sun have proceeded into two directions: (1) high resolution imaging at a few discrete wavelengths; (2) spectroscopy with limited or no spatial resolution at centimeter, decimeter, and meter wavelengths. Full exploitation of the radio spectrum to measure coronal magnetic fields in both quiescent active regions and flares, to probe the thermal structure of the solar atmosphere, and to study energy release and particle energization in transient events, requires a solar-dedicated, frequency-agile solar radiotelescope, capable of high-time, - spatial, and -spectral resolution imaging spectroscopy. In this paper we summarize the science program and instrument requirements for such a telescope, and present a strawman interferometric array composed of many (greater than 40), small (2 m) antenna elements, each equipped with a frequency- agile receiver operating over the range 1 - 26.5 GHz.