Very Long Baseline Interferometry

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About Very Long Baseline Interferometry

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Very-long-baseline interferometry (VLBI) is a type of astronomical interferometry used in radio astronomy. It allows observations of an object that are made simultaneously by many telescopes to be combined, emulating a telescope with a size equal to the maximum separation between the telescopes. Data received at each antenna in the array is paired with timing information, usually from a local atomic clock, and then stored for later analysis on magnetic tape or hard disk. At that later time, the data is correlated with data from other antennas similarly recorded, to produce the resulting image. The resolution achievable using interferometry is proportional to the observing frequency and the distance between the antennas farthest apart in the array. The VLBI technique enables this distance to be much greater than that possible with conventional interferometry, which requires antennas to be physically connected by coaxial cable, waveguide, optical fiber, or other type of transmission line. The greater telescope separations are possible in VLBI due to the development of the closure phase imaging technique by Roger Jennison in the 1950s, allowing VLBI to produce images with superior

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