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HartRAO becomes a full member of the EVN 2011/05/11

The European VLBI Network (EVN) comprises a number of radio telescopes in Europe and other continents that can operate together to form a Very Long Baseline Interferometer to provide imaging of bright, compact astronomical radio sources such as quasars, masers, pulsars, interacting binary stars and supernovae with high angular resolution (typically one thousandth of a second of arc).

The EVN typically holds three main observing sessions each year, each four weeks long. In addition, e-VLBI and target-of-opportunity observations are held between these sessions. In e-VLBI, the radio telescopes simultaneously stream their data to the correlator at the Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe (JIVE) for real-time processing.

At the meeting of the Consortium Board of Directors (CBD) of the EVN held at Torun Observatory, Poland, on 2011 May 11, the membership of HartRAO was discussed. HartRAO has been an associate member of the EVN since 2001 November 22. The EVN CBD Executive noted that HartRAO meets the technical and operational requirements for full membership, and it was agreed the HartRAO would become a full member of the EVN.

The meeting was attended by Dr Michael Gaylard, Director of HartRAO.

The HartRAO 26m radio telescope is currently still the only operational VLBI-capable radio telescope in Africa. The long baselines from the European telescopes to the HartRAO telescope improve the angular resolution of the imaging in the north-south direction.

HartRAO supports the KAT7 and MeerKAT radio telescope array developments by the South African SKA Project, which will provide a VLBI capability in due course.