Space Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI)
Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) can produce images with much higher angular resolutions than any other astronomical instruments, thus is a powerful tool for investigating interesting astronomical phenomena in many unique ways. Space VLBI systems with one antenna in the space (the TDRSS-OVLBI demonstration experiment and VSOP/HALCA project) that began operations in the mid-1980s have already opened up new realms of scientific and technological investigations. The long-awaited space radio telescope RadioAstron was launched in 2011, and now exciting results are expected to come out soon.
China is currently planning a future space VLBI mission, and its final proposal is expected to be submitted by the fall of 2015. Chinese scientists and engineers have been discussing the science goals of the mission and the design of the satellite for some time. The planned observing frequency is up to 43 GHz (Q band), which is new to space VLBI. Combining this frequency with a baseline of up to 60,000 km, the mission would detect a launching point of the jet from a black hole situated at the central region of a galaxy. The envisioned Chinese VLBI system might even capture an image of the outer edge of an accretion disk. Astronomical masers in our Galaxy and some extragalaxies are also interesting science targets, in addition to a number of other possible ones currently being explored.
Date: 16-18 September 2013
|Joint Institute for VLBI (JIVE), Europe
|Shanghai Astronomical Observatory, CAS, China
|National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), USA
More information about the Chinese Space VLBI Array downloaded here