European VLBI Network

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European VLBI Network
E-vlbi science.jpg
The first e-VLBI science image produced by the European VLBI Network
Alternative namesEVN Edit this at Wikidata Edit this at Wikidata
TelescopesCambridge MERLIN telescope
Medicina 32-m radio telescope
Metsahovi 14m radio telescope
Nanshan Radio Telescope
Noto 32-m radio telescope
Onsala Space Observatory 20 m telescope
Onsala Space Observatory 25 m telescope
Sheshan 25m radio telescope
Toruń RT4
Wettzell 20m radio telescope
Arecibo Observatory
Effelsberg 100-m Radio Telescope
Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory
Lovell Telescope
Madrid Deep Space Communications Complex
Mark II
Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope
Yebes Observatory RT40m Edit this on Wikidata
Commons page Related media on Wikimedia Commons

The European VLBI Network (EVN) is a network of radio telescopes located primarily in Europe and Asia, with additional antennas in South Africa and Puerto Rico, which performs very high angular resolution observations of cosmic radio sources using very-long-baseline interferometry (VLBI). The EVN is the most sensitive VLBI array in the world, and the only one capable of real-time observations. The Joint Institute for VLBI ERIC (JIVE) acts as the central organisation in the EVN, providing both scientific user support and a correlator facility. Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) achieves ultra-high angular resolution and is a multi-disciplinary technique used in astronomy, geodesy and astrometry.

The EVN operates an open-sky policy, allowing anyone to propose an observation using the network[1]

EVN Telescopes[edit]

The EVN network comprises 22 telescope facilities:[2]

Name Dish Size Location Operated by
Effelsberg 100-m Radio Telescope 100 metres Effelsberg, Germany Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy
Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope 12 x 25 metres Westerbork, Netherlands ASTRON
Sardinia Radio Telescope 64 metres San Basilio, Italy Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica
Lovell Telescope 76 metres Goostrey, Cheshire, United Kingdom Jodrell Bank Observatory
Cambridge 32 metres 32 metres Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory, United Kingdom Jodrell Bank Observatory
Mark II 25 metres Goostrey, Cheshire, United Kingdom Jodrell Bank Observatory
Medicina Radio Observatory 32 metres Medicina, Italy Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica
Onsala Space Observatory 25 metres and 20 metres Onsala, Sweden Chalmers University of Technology
Ventspils International Radio Astronomy Centre 32 metres and 16 metres Ventspils, Irbene, Latvia Ventspils University College
Noto Radio Observatory 32 metres Noto, Italy Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica
Toruń Centre for Astronomy 32 metres Toruń, Poland Nicolaus Copernicus University
Metsähovi Radio Observatory 14 metres Kirkkonummi, Finland Aalto University School of Science and Technology
Sheshan 25 metres 25 metres Sheshan, Shanghai, China Shanghai Astronomical Observatory
Nanshan 25 metres 25 metres Ürümqi, China
Spanish National Observatory 40 metres and 14 metres Yebes, Guadalajara, Spain Instituto Geográfico Nacional (Spain)
Wettzell (20m Radio telescope) 20 metres Germany
Madrid Deep Space Communication Complex Robledo de Chavela, Spain INTA / NASA / JPL
Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory 26 metres Hartebeesthoek, South Africa National Research Foundation of South Africa
Arecibo Observatory 305 metres Arecibo, Puerto Rico SRI International / USRA / UMET
RAO Svetloe 32 metres Leningrad, Russia Institute of Applied Astronomy
RAO Zelenchuckskaya 32 metres Zelenchukskaya, Zelenchuksky, Karachay-Cherkessia, Russia Institute of Applied Astronomy
RAO Badary 32 metres Badary, Tunkinsky, Buryatia, Russia Institute of Applied Astronomy

Additionally the EVN often links with the UK-based 7-element Jodrell Bank MERLIN interferometer. It can also be connected to the US Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), achieving a global VLBI, obtaining sub-milliarcsecond resolution at frequencies higher than 5 GHz.[3]


Since 2004, the EVN has started to be linked together using international fibre optic networks, through a technique known as e-VLBI. The EXPReS project was designed to connect telescopes at Gigabit per second links via their National Research Networks and the Pan-European research network GÉANT2, and make the first astronomical experiments using this new technique. This allows researchers to take advantage of the e-EVN's Targets of Opportunity for conducting follow-on observations of transient events such as X-ray binary flares, supernova explosions and gamma-ray bursts.

EXPReS's objectives are to connect up to 16 of the world's most sensitive radio telescopes on six continents to the central data processor of the European VLBI Network at the Joint Institute for VLBI ERIC (JIVE). Specific activities involve securing "last-mile connections" and upgrading existing connections to the telescopes, updating the correlator to process up to 16 data streams at 1 Gbit/s each in real time and research possibilities for distributed computing to replace the centralized data processor.


The EVN was formed in 1980 by a consortium of five of the major radio astronomy institutes in Europe (the European Consortium for VLBI). Since 1980, the EVN and the Consortium has grown to include many institutes with numerous radio telescopes in several western European countries as well as associated institutes with telescopes in Russia, Ukraine, China and South Africa. Proposals for an additional telescope in Spain are under consideration.

Observations using the EVN have contributed to scientific research on Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs),[4] gravitational lensing,[5] and supermassive black holes.[6].

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Using the EVN | EVLBI". Retrieved 2020-02-07.
  2. ^ "Pictures of EVN telescopes". Archived from the original on 2012-05-05. Retrieved 2018-09-26.
  3. ^ "Introduction to the EVN". Archived from the original on 2012-05-05. Retrieved 2014-02-03.
  4. ^ "A repeating Fast Radio Burst from a spiral galaxy deepens the mystery of where these signals originate from | Jive". Retrieved 2020-02-07.
  5. ^ "New images from a super-telescope bring astronomers a step closer to understanding dark matter | Jive". Retrieved 2020-02-07.
  6. ^ "Surprise discovery provides new insights into stellar deaths | Jive". Retrieved 2020-02-07.

External links[edit]