Subarcminute Resolution Imaging of Radio Sources at 74 MHz with the Very Large Array
NAVAL RESEARCH LAB WASHINGTON DC
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A new observing system operating at 74 MHz and providing an angular resolution of 20 is currently being tested at the VLA. The system comprises a prime-focus dipole feed and amplifier installed on eight of the VLAs 25 m antennas. Although the system is of low efficiency, it works well for imaging strong sources S 20O Jy on long baselines 5 km since self-calibration has sufficient signal to noise to remove phase errors on the short time scales 10 s characteristic of ionospheric variations. We present maps of a few strong, well known radio sources imaged in most cases with unprecedented angular resolution. For weaker sources, the ionospheric phase variations do not allow the increased integration times required for successful self-calibration. In order to overcome this, we have developed a procedure of dual-frequency ionospheric phase referencing utilizing simultaneous observations at 74 and 330 MHz to unwind the effects of the ionosphere before self-calibration. We will discuss the procedure, which should be applicable to any future low frequency 100 MHz, long baseline 5 km, ground-based interferometer which can obtain simultaneous, higher frequency measurements, and show examples of its application.