AAS 200th meeting, Albuquerque, NM, June 2002
Session 64. New Developments in Ground Based Instrumentation
Display, Wednesday, June 5, 2002, 10:00am-7:00pm, SW Exhibit Hall

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[64.03] Scientific Potential of Solar VLBI Using Remote SRTs

M.L. Cobb (Southeast Missouri State University)

The Small Radio Telescope (SRT) kit, developed by Haystack Observatory of MIT, has been established at over 50 sites primarily within the continental US. The SRT was designed as a radio astronomy educational aid and can make useful observations of the 21 cm line of Hydrogen as well as continuum measurements of bright sources including the Sun and bright HII regions. This poster explores the scientific potential of using the Small Radio Telescope (SRT) kit as individual stations in a packet based VLBI network to provide high resolution images of the Sun.

There are few instruments available to help educate students in radio astronomy techniques at the undergraduate level. The current version of the SRT demonstrates single dish measurements of continuum and 21 cm HI lines. Many SRT users have expressed an interest in having a system that can demonstrate interferometric measurement techniques. Haystack Observatory has reported detecting fringes on the Sun obtained by combining the RF signals of two SRT telescopes. While building a connected element array would be possible using this technique the diverse locale of the SRT sites suggests VLBI like processing may allow many of the sites to combine their data streams to form images.

If a precise enough timing process could be developed, then individual telescopes could time stamp their data and share data packets with other observers. Users participate in the process by allowing their data to be used by others. Similar to sharing MP3 files, users could assemble packets from other telescopes and form images from the correlated data sets.

We explore the infrastructure needed for such a data base and simulate what kinds of images of the Sun such a system might produce.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34
© 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.