Interferometry And Synthesis In Radio Astronomy - …

Astronomers usually need the highest angular resolution possible when observing celestial objects, but the blurring effect of diffraction imposes a fundamental limit on the image quality from any single telescope. Interferometry allows light collected at widely separated telescopes to be combined in order to synthesize an aperture much larger than an individual telescope, thereby improving angular resolution by orders of magnitude. Because diffraction has the largest effect for long wavelengths, radio and millimeter wave astronomers depend on interferometry to achieve image quality on par with conventional large-aperture visible and infrared telescopes. Interferometers at visible and infrared wavelengths extend angular resolution below the milliarcsecond level to open up unique research areas in imaging stellar surfaces and circumstellar environments In this chapter, the basic principles of interferometry are reviewed with an emphasis on the common features for radio and optical observing. While many techniques are common to interferometers of all wavelengths, crucial differences are identified that will help new practitioners to avoid unnecessary confusion and common pitfalls. The concepts essential for writing observing proposals and for planning observations are described, depending on the science wavelength, the angular resolution, and the field of view required. Atmospheric and ionospheric turbulence degrades the longest-baseline observations by significantly reducing the stability of interference fringes. Such instabilities represent a persistent challenge, and the basic techniques of phase referencing and phase closure have been developed to deal with them. Synthesis imaging with large observing datasets has become a routine and straightforward process at radio observatories, but remains challenging for optical facilities. In this context, the commonly used image reconstruction algorithms CLEAN and MEM are presented. Lastly, a concise overview of current facilities is included as an appendix.

Interferometry and synthesis in radio astronomy

AB - Astronomers usually need the highest angular resolution possible when observing celestial objects, but the blurring effect of diffraction imposes a fundamental limit on the image quality from any single telescope. Interferometry allows light collected at widely separated telescopes to be combined in order to synthesize an aperture much larger than an individual telescope, thereby improving angular resolution by orders of magnitude. Because diffraction has the largest effect for long wavelengths, radio and millimeter wave astronomers depend on interferometry to achieve image quality on par with conventional large-aperture visible and infrared telescopes. Interferometers at visible and infrared wavelengths extend angular resolution below the milliarcsecond level to open up unique research areas in imaging stellar surfaces and circumstellar environments In this chapter, the basic principles of interferometry are reviewed with an emphasis on the common features for radio and optical observing. While many techniques are common to interferometers of all wavelengths, crucial differences are identified that will help new practitioners to avoid unnecessary confusion and common pitfalls. The concepts essential for writing observing proposals and for planning observations are described, depending on the science wavelength, the angular resolution, and the field of view required. Atmospheric and ionospheric turbulence degrades the longest-baseline observations by significantly reducing the stability of interference fringes. Such instabilities represent a persistent challenge, and the basic techniques of phase referencing and phase closure have been developed to deal with them. Synthesis imaging with large observing datasets has become a routine and straightforward process at radio observatories, but remains challenging for optical facilities. In this context, the commonly used image reconstruction algorithms CLEAN and MEM are presented. Lastly, a concise overview of current facilities is included as an appendix.


Book review: Interferometry and Synthesis in Radio Astronomy

Interferometry and Synthesis in Radio Astronomy, 3rd …

N2 - We present the results of the fifth Interferometric Imaging Beauty Contest. The contest consists in blind imaging of test data sets derived from model sources and distributed in the OIFITS format. Two scenarios of imaging with CHARA/MIRC-6T were offered for reconstruction: imaging a T Tauri disc and imaging a spotted red supergiant. There were eight different teams competing this time: Monnier with the software package MACIM; Hofmann, Schertl and Weigelt with IRS; Thiébaut and Soulez with MiRA ; Young with BSMEM; Mary and Vannier with MIROIRS; Millour and Vannier with independent BSMEM and MiRA entries; Rengaswamy with an original method; and Elias with the radio-astronomy package CASA. The contest model images, the data delivered to the contestants and the rules are described as well as the results of the image reconstruction obtained by each method. These results are discussed as well as the strengths and limitations of each algorithm.