High resolution rapid response observations of compact radio sources with the Ceduna Hobart Interferometer (CHI)
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Type of Work5 pages
Citation of Original PublicationHigh resolution rapid response observations of compact radio sources with the Ceduna Hobart Interferometer (CHI), J. M. Blanchard, J. E. J. Lovell, R. Ojha, M. Kadler, J. M. Dickey and P. G. Edwards A&A, 538 (2012) A150, https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/201117593
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Context. Frequent, simultaneous observations across the electromagnetic spectrum are essential to the study of a range of astrophysical phenomena including active galactic nuclei. A key tool of such studies is the ability to observe an object when it flares i.e. exhibits a rapid and significant increase in its flux density. Aims. We describe the specific observational procedures and the calibration techniques that have been developed and tested to create a single baseline radio interferometer that can rapidly observe a flaring object. This is the only facility that is dedicated to rapid high resolution radio observations of an object south of −30 degrees declination. An immediate application is to provide rapid contemporaneous radio coverage of AGN flaring at γ-ray frequencies detected by the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. Methods. A single baseline interferometer, the Ceduna Hobart Interferometer (CHI), was formed with radio telescopes in Hobart, Tasmania and Ceduna, South Australia. A software correlator was set up at the University of Tasmania to correlate these data. Results. Measurements of the flux densities of flaring objects can be made using our observing strategy within half an hour of a triggering event. These observations can be calibrated with amplitude errors better than 15%. Lower limits to the brightness temperatures of the sources can also be calculated using CHI.