European VLBI Network
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The European very-long-baseline interferometry (VLBI) Network was formed in 1980 by a consortium of five of the major radio astronomy institutes in Europe (the European Consortium for VLBI). Since 1980, the EVN and the Consortium has grown to include many institutes with numerous radio telescopes in several western European countries as well as associated institutes with telescopes in Russia, Ukraine, China and South Africa. Proposals for an additional telescope in Spain are under consideration. In 1993 the Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe (JIVE) was created, with the Netherlands Foundation for Research in Astronomy (Dwingeloo) acting as the host institute. It provides both scientific user support and a correlator facility. Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) achieves ultra-high angular resolution and is a multi-disciplinary technique e.g. imaging of extragalactic radio sources, geodesy and astrometry.
The first e-VLBI science image produced by the European VLBI Network
|Telescopes||Cambridge MERLIN telescope|
Medicina 32-m radio telescope
Metsahovi 14m radio telescope
Nanshan Radio Telescope
Noto 32-m radio telescope
Onsala Space Observatory 20 m telescope
Onsala Space Observatory 25 m telescope
Sheshan 25m radio telescope
Wettzell 20m radio telescope
Effelsberg 100-m Radio Telescope
Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory
Madrid Deep Space Communications Complex
Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope
Yebes Observatory RT40m
|Related media on Wikimedia Commons|
The EVN network comprises 22 telescope facilities:
Additionally the EVN often links with the UK-based 7-element Jodrell Bank MERLIN interferometer. It can also be connected to the US Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), achieving a global VLBI, obtaining sub-milliarcsecond resolution at frequencies higher than 5 GHz.
Since 2004, the EVN has started to be linked together using international fibre optic networks, through a technique known as e-VLBI. The EXPReS project was designed to connect telescopes at Gigabit per second links via their National Research Networks and the Pan-European research network GÉANT2, and make the first astronomical experiments using this new technique. This allows researchers to take advantage of the e-EVN's Targets of Opportunity for conducting follow-on observations of transient events such as X-ray binary flares, supernova explosions and gamma-ray bursts.
EXPReS's objectives are to connect up to 16 of the world's most sensitive radio telescopes on six continents to the central data processor of the European VLBI Network at the Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe (JIVE). Specific activities involve securing "last-mile connections" and upgrading existing connections to the telescopes, updating the correlator to process up to 16 data streams at 1 Gbit/s each in real time and research possibilities for distributed computing to replace the centralized data processor.