Daily Image

Click here or on the picture for a full size image.

Westerbork milestone!

Submitter: Henk Mulder
Description: This month Westerbork Observers reached a milestone!

Even after the end of the regular tied-array observations, the WSRT has continued to contribute to RadioAstron observations with RT1 and the MFFE (the most flexible and sensitive WSRT receiver). Recently the WSRT Observers have passed the milestone of making 1500 RadioAstron observations at 18cm, 6cm and 92cm.

This December alone, there will be 50 projects observed. The cryogenically cooled Multi-Frequency-Frontend (MFFEs) are currently used in RT0 and RT1, for VLBI, e-VLBI and s-VLBI (RadioAstron). The WSRT contributes significantly at 92cm (one of the few ground radio telescopes with this frequency). In the past, the observations where send by discpack to Russia, which could get lost during shipping. In order to make sure all the data arrives, we now built a system that sends it via FTP. Which still requires a lot of manual work for the observers. We are currently busy making an automatic system for this process.

Space VLBI: when we talk about very-long-baseline interferometry, people tend to think of EVN and other ground based arrays. But even more awesome is Space VLBI!

In the quest for even greater angular resolution, dedicated VLBI satellites have been placed in Earth orbit to provide greatly extended baselines. Experiments incorporating such space-borne array elements are termed Space Very Long Baseline Interferometry (SVLBI). The Spektr-R (or RadioAstron) project is funded by the Astro Space Center of Russia, and was launched into Earth orbit on 18 July 2011 from the Baikonur Space Center. The RadioAstron project is a radio interferometer composed of the Spectrum-R space telescope and terrestrial radio telescopes. The orbit height of the Spectrum-R is 390 thousand km, which makes it the longest radio interferometer to date. Russia's Spektr-R telescope is the largest orbital radio telescope and is in the by Guinness book of World Records. The "record" resolution is 8 micro-arcsec, at 22 GHz (in an H2O maser) on a 340,000 km baseline.

RadioAstron website:
Copyright: Henk Mulder, Richard Blaauw, Antonis Polatidis
  Follow us on Twitter
Please feel free to submit an image using the Submit page.