eVLBI makes history

VLBI, or very long baseline interferometry, is a method for synthesizing a gigantic telescope. Basically, you record signals at several radio telescopes in different locations and play them back together on a computer. This process synthesizes a telescope as big as the biggest distance between the telescopes you have. Obviously you don't have a telescope that big but you do get the same resolution as one.

Up to now, these signals have been recorded on tape and then shipped to a correlator where they are all played back. In recent years, with the improved bandwidth of modern network connections, people have been trying to carry this process out in real-time. Back on 10th September the first real-time fringes (fringes occur when everything works), between the Arecibo radio telescope and three telescopes in Europe, were detected. The longest baseline in the observation - possibly the longest ever - was between Arecibo and Torun in Poland. They managed to create the first real-time transatlantic image of the source 0528 134. Note the low declination of 13 degrees as the source had to be visible to the Arecibo dish which has a limited field of view.

You can see the busy group in the Torun control room; the 32m is outside to the right in the image and you can see Genek sat in one of the controllers chairs. I bet Andrzei Kus is about to give an interview to the TV crew. The last time I saw the Mark 5 terminal at Torun, it had just been delivered and was still in its box, but I think the idea was to mount in one of the racks to the right.

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Monday 27th Sep 2004 (14:12 UTC) | Permalink
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