Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe
|Purpose||Operate the EVN and provide support to VLBI astronomers.|
The Joint Institute for VLBI ERIC (JIVE) was formed in 1993 by the European Consortium for VLBI and is the central facility of the European VLBI Network (EVN). In 2015, JIVE became an European Research Infrastructure Consortium.
Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) is a type of astronomical interferometry used in radio astronomy. It allows observations of an object that are made simultaneously by many telescopes to be combined, emulating a telescope with a size equal to the maximum separation between the telescopes.
Normally the participating radio telescopes function individually, working on their own specific projects. In the case of VLBI, they all observe the same source at the same time, allowing much higher spatial resolution. There are many complex and challenging hurdles that need to be overcome to enable this effort. One challenge is the data processing requirement. JIVE operates the "EVN Data Processor" - a special-purpose supercomputer for astronomical VLBI data correlation. In a recent demonstration of JIVE 14 telescopes from in Australia, Chile, China, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Puerto Rico, Spain, Sweden and the UK participated in joint observations of the active galaxy 3C120. The participating telescopes included:
- the 26 meter telescope at Hobart, operated by the University of Tasmania;
- the 22m dish of Mopra, part of the Long Baseline Array, operated by CSIRO;
- the 25m dish of Sheshan near Shanghai, operated by the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory, Chinese Academy of Sciences;
- the 14m Metsähovi dish, operated by the Helsinki University of Technology;
- the 32m telescope of Toruń;
- the 32m telescope at Medicina, operated by the Instituto Nazionale di Astrofisica;
- the 25m telescope at the Onsala Space Observatory;
- the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope;
- the Yebes 40m, operated by the Observatorio Astronomico Nacional;
- the 300m dish of Arecibo, located in Puerto Rico;
- the 6m dish of TIGO, operated by the Geodätisches Observatorium Wettzell.
The observations of the European VLBI Network are now carried out in real-time, thus earning the name of e-VLBI, or real-time, electronic Very Long Baseline Interferometry. The telescopes are then linked via high-speed national research and education networks (NRENs) which overcome some of the performance drawbacks of TCP/IP and UDP/IP (networking protocols) to allow sharing large volumes of data for immediate use. Such high-speed networks eliminate the shipping of disks of data from separate observations for correlation, thus allowing astronomers to respond to events as they happen in real time. The VLBI data are streamed to the JIVE, where they are correlated and the final, high-resolution image created.
JIVE is funded by the following national research councils and national facilities.
- Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)
- Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
- National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF)
- National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC)
- Onsala Space Observatory (OSO)
- National Geographical Institute (IGN)
- Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR)
- Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON)
- National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS)
- "ERIC decision for JIVE" (Press release). JIVE. 2014-12-11. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
- "European VLBI Network to participate in "100 Hours of Astronomy" with live webcast and e-VLBI observations" (Press release). JIVE. 2009-03-16. Retrieved 2009-07-15.
- Verkouter, Harro. "April 3 and 5th 2009". Retrieved 2009-07-15.