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Estimation of scan-gap limits on phase delay connections in Delta VLBI observations based on the phase structure function at a short time period

Abstract

The maximum scan-gap length which connects phase delays from scan to scan over a gap is an important issue in Delta Very Long Baseline Interferometry (D-VLBI), and it is affected by delay fluctuations caused by the wet troposphere. It has recently become possible to obtain near real-time fringe phases by using an e-VLBI technique that realizes real-time VLBI by connecting stations through high-speed Internet. Such real-time VLBI raises the possibility of dynamic D-VLBI scheduling, which changes scan and gap length dynamically according to the weather condition of the date. We have investigated this possibility by using phase structure functions obtained from continuous VLBI observations at S- and X-bands for 1–2 h at the Kashima, Gifu, and Koganei stations (not real-time ones). Five VLBI sessions were conducted during this study between March and July 2006 under different weather conditions. At first a simple method was developed to evaluate phase connectivity from a phase structure function. A model was also proposed to estimate a phase-structure function at longer time periods from a short time period. Finally, an available gap length was estimated using the model. Our results show that it is possible to estimate an available scan gap length by using a structure function at a time period of 10 s. This suggests that it is possible to control scan length and gap length dynamically in order to achieve the best performance of D-VLBI observations.

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Correspondence to Tetsuro Kondo.

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Key words

  • Delta VLBI
  • phase structure function
  • phase connection