The Impact of Global High-Speed Networks on Radio Astronomy

An Operational Viewpoint


The advent of worldwide high-speed optical networks has drastically changed the operational model of VLBI (Very Long Baseline Interferometry). This document describes these changes through a time line of an e-VLBI observation at the EVN-correlator from an operational point of view. All the tools that are needed to setup and run a successful e-VLBI session are discussed in chronological order. Tools developed especially for e-VLBI by the EXPReS project group will be mentioned and suggestions on possible improvements are given where appropriate. Because the incoming data from the telescopes are being processed at the correlator in real time, problems with the correlator system can cause total data loss from all the participating telescopes. It is therefore important to realize that the job of the correlator operator is directly related to the success of the e-VLBI observation, with respect to the monitoring of the data quality and error checking. New tools that will help the operator detect and solve problems in the data or with the network need to be developed. Our experiences from working with this online scientific instrument can be beneficial to other users or developers of online and distributed Grid based systems.


Very Long Baseline Interferometry Science Observation Correlator Operator Very Long Baseline Interferometry Observation Disk Pack 


  1. 1.
    R.M. Campbell. So you want to do VLBI, November 1999. (January 2009)
  2. 2.
    R.T. Schilizzi, W. Aldrich, B. Anderson, A. Bos, R.M. Campbell, J. Canaris, R. Cappallo, J.L. Casse, A. Cattani, J. Goodman, H.J. van Langevelde, A. Maccafferri, R. Millenaar, R.G. Noble, F. Olnon, S.M. Parsley, C. Phillips, S.V. Pogrebenko, D. Smythe, A. Szomoru, H. Verkouter, A.R. Whitney. The EVN-MarkIV VLBI Data Processor, Experimental Astronomy, 12(1), 49–67(19), 2001, DOI: 10.1023/A:1015706126556 (December 2008)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    VLBI Standard Interface (VSI), August 2000. (January 2009)
  4. 4.
    Mark5 VLBI Data System. (January 2009)
  5. 5.
    P. Boven. Full steam ahead – 1024 Mb/s data rate for the e-EVN First Draft, January 8, 2008. pdf (December 2008)
  6. 6.
    A.R. Thompson, J.M. Moran, G.W. Swenson, Jr. Interferometry and synthesis in radio astronomy, Wiley, New York, NY, 1986 (February 2009)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    B. Eldering, On-the-fly clock searching, November 10, 2008. (December 2008)
  8. 8.
    B. Eldering, Data status monitor tool, October 11, 2006. (November 2008)
  9. 9.
    B. Eldering, Extensions to the data status monitor tool, July 21, 2009. (July 2009)
  10. 10.
    B. Anderson. The EVN/Mark IV Station Unit Requirements, MarkIV Memo #140, Revision D, 930301. (December 2008)
  11. 11.
    B. Eldering. Automatic diagonal weight detection, May 6, 2009. (May 2008)
  12. 12.
    A.R. Whitney, R.J. Cappallo. Mark 5B design specifications, Mark5 Memo #19, 24 November 2004. (November 2008)

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe (JIVE)DwingelooThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations