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The First Fringes to Irbene

Submitter: Yurii Pidopryhora
Description: On 12 April 2012 the quiet working routine of JIVE was suddenly disrupted by applause, photo-flashes, laughter and shouts of joy as people scrambled to one of the offices to see all-green lights produced by the EVN software correlator at JIVE (SFXC) in an ftp test scan for Irbene - Onsala and Irbene - Torun baselines, signifying the detection of the first ever fringes to Irbene VLBI station in Latvia. This marks the end of a long and arduous road made possible by efforts of scientists and engineers at the Ventspils International Radio Astronomy Centre (VIRAC) and other EVN sites and hopefully the beginning of a much happier and longer journey as Irbene joins the family of the European VLBI Network stations. These results were achieved with a 32-meter fully steerable parabolic, centimetre-wave range antenna RT-32, a former military installation taken over by the Latvian Academy of Sciences after the withdrawal of the Soviet army from Latvia in the 90s and retrofitted with the state-of-the-art radio astronomy equipment.

The images at the top of the collage show the three participating antennas, (from left to right) 32-m. Torun in Poland (Tr), 32-m. Irbene (Ir) in Latvia and 25-m. Onsala (On) in Sweden. The two plots in the middle of the image show phase (left) and amplitude (right) as a function of frequency across the subbands, resulting from a correlation of 4 seconds of data from a scan of 3C84 in C-band. The baselines in these plots are (top to bottom) On - Tr, On - Ir and Tr - Ir. Snapshots at the bottom are courtesy of Leonid Gurvits. The happy JIVErs that can be identified in these photos are the director Huib van Langevelde, scientific programmer Aard Keimpema (by whose efforts the SFXC correlator is currently developed and maintained), the support science team Zsolt Paragi, Yurii Pidopryhora, Gabriele Surcis and Jun Yang, and PR/Outreach officer Kristine Yun. The head of Science Operations & Support Bob Campbell and the head of Technical Operations and R&D Arpad Szomoru along with other JIVE personnel who contributed a lot of work into achieving this success are not in the photos.
Copyright: JIVE (Yurii Pidopryhora)
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