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CASA VLBI workshop 2017

Submitter: Gina Maffey
Description: There is a focused and tense energy radiating from the room. People are sat in pairs at small tables throughout, and fingers are tapping at speed with eyes flicking from screen to screen. Hushed, concentrated discussions occur between tables, and occasionally one will grab the attention of other users leading to an open conversation, before people return their gaze to their own screen.

Welcome to the CASA VLBI workshop. In a glass fronted meeting room individuals from around the world have gathered to test a new toolkit for processing data collected during VLBI experiments. JIVE has been developing the toolkit in CASA, with testing occurring in house – until now. Twenty individuals have come together to spend the week experimenting with using the toolkit on their own datasets.

For Cormac Reynolds from CSIRO the workshop has not only been been a welcome return to familiar territory, but a way to "future proof" and help ensure that "younger students [who are] familiar with CASA do not have to jump through another hoop" to analyse their data in radio astronomy.

The JIVE team have used the workshop to get feedback on the toolkit, while also hearing what wishes there are for future functionality from participants. Which is exactly what Rachael Ainsworth from Jodrell Bank has spent the time doing: "It would be great to just press a button and let [the toolkit] go, but right now it's about understanding and knowing what to look for to troubleshoot."

Ultimately, in developing the toolkit the JIVE team are hoping to open up VLBI data processing in radio astronomy. If this is possible then, as Walter Brisken from the Long Baseline Observatory said, it: "makes VLBI more accessible to a broader side of the radio astronomy community."
Copyright: JIVE
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