Status Report

When you wish upon a star: Future developments in astronomical VLBI

By SpaceRef Editor
January 21, 2003
Filed under , ,

Astrophysics, abstract
astro-ph/0301355


From: Mike Garrett <[email protected]>
Date: Fri, 17 Jan 2003 13:31:09 GMT (588kb)

When you wish upon a star: Future developments in astronomical VLBI


Authors:
M.A. Garrett (JIVE)

Comments: 17 pages, 9 figures, To appear in ASP Conf. series – “New
Technologies for VLBI”, ed. Y.C. Minh (Korean VLBI Network)


In this paper, I present the likely technological development of VLBI, and
its impact on the astronomical community over the next 1-5 years. VLBI is
currently poised to take advantage of the rapid development in commercial
off-the-shelf (COTS) PC-based products. The imminent deployment of disk-based
recording systems will enable Gbps data rates to be achieved routinely by both
cm and mm-VLBI networks. This, together with anticipated improvements in
collecting area, receiver systems and coherence time is set to transform the
performance of VLBI in terms of both baseline and image noise sensitivity. At
the same time the feasibility of using fibre based communication networks as
the basis for production, real-time VLBI networks will begin. Fantastic new
correlator output data rates, and the ability to deal with these via powerful
PC clusters promises to expand the typical VLBI field-of-view to scales
previously reserved for connected, short baseline interferometers. By
simultaneously sampling the summed response of all compact radio sources within
(and indeed beyond) the half-power point of the VLBI telescope primary beam,
simple self-calibration of the target field will ALWAYS be possible at
frequencies below a few GHz. Unbiased, broad-band continuum surveys will be
conducted over huge areas of sky, and (redshifted) spectral-features will be
detected too. By the end of the decade the microJy radio sky will be accessible
to VLBI: dozens of sources will be simultaneosuly observed, correlated,
detected and fully analysed all within the same day.

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