AAS 197, January 2001
Session 99. The Expanded VLA
Special Session Oral, Wednesday, January 10, 2001, 1:30-3:00pm, Royal Palm 5/6

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[99.01] The Expanded VLA -- Opening New Frontiers in Radio Astronomy

R.A. Perley (NRAO)

The Very Large Array remains the premier research telescope for astronomy in the wavelength range from 0.7 to 400 cm. But the productivity of the VLA is limited by the same 1980s technology that it had when commissioned in 1980. Since that time, new technologies have enabled vast improvements in radio telescope performance, particularly in the key areas of digital signal transport and digital signal processing. The Expanded VLA (EVLA) will revolutionize the capabilities of the Very Large Array by incorporating these modern technologies into the existing array and its sound infrastructure. All key observational capabilities of the array will be improved by a factor of ten or more.

The key observational characteristics of the EVLA will include: (i) Complete frequency coverage from 1 to 50 GHz, with a possible low frequency extension to 300 MHz or lower, (i) Full polarization capability with bandwidth of up to 8 GHz, per polarization, (iii) A continuum sensitivity of ~1\muJy between 2 and 40 GHz, (iv) A state-of-the-art 40-station correlator, providing 16384 channels over the full 16 GHz bandwidth, and up to 262144 channels at narrower bandwidths, and (v) An increase in resolution by a factor ~10 by addition of eight new antennas at distances of up to ~300 Km.

The NRAO has prepared and submitted to the National Science Foundation a proposal to implement Phase I of the Expanded VLA Project. This phase will include all the components listed above except the increased resolution. The Phase I proposal is budgeted at $76.2M, of which $49.9M is for new NSF funding. The remainder will come from foreign contributions, and from redirected work of the existing staff. The proposed timescale for Phase I is nine years, with a start in 2001, although a shorter timescale, at somewhat lower cost, is both possible and preferred by the NRAO. Preparation of the Phase II proposal, which is primarily concerned with the increase in resolution, but may also include other desirable improvements in array performance, will begin this year.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: rperley@nrao.edu

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