Facilities > VLBA > Other Info for Observers > Intrduction to the VLBA

Guide to Using the VLBA

by Amy Mioduszewski last modified Aug 29, 2013

The VLBA is a system of 10 identical telescopes, separated by distances ranging from 200 km to 8600 km, that can be used to observe and image a variety of compact radio sources having brightness temperatures higher than ~105K. The telescopes are capable of observing in 10 frequency bands ranging from 300 MHz to 86GHz. These pages are a guide to using the VLBA, aimed specifically at inexperienced users, but also useful to fill in knowledge gaps for more experienced observers. They are intended to address the more-than-90% of all observations that might be classified as "standard" and relatively simple to make.

The pathway from proposal to final product is similar to the VLA, and to telescopes operating in most wavebands. For completeness, we list the basic steps below, as well as the organization or individual who has the responsibility of carrying out the steps. Each step is then described in more detail in succeeding sections. (Note that "PI" stands for the Principal Investigator and his/her science team.)

  1. Proposal - PI (assistance from documentation)
  2. Refereeing and Observing Allocation
  3. Schedule Preparation - PI (NRAO service available for some users)
  4. Correlation, Data Validation and Distribution - VLBA operations
  5. Calibration - PI (Data pipeline available)
  6. Imaging and Analysis - PI (NRAO advice/assistance available)
  7. Scientific Results and Publications - PI