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The International Celestial Reference Frame suffers from significantly less observations in the southern hemisphere compared to the northern one. One reason for this is the historically low number of very long baseline interferometry radio telescopes in the south. The AuScope very long baseline interferometry array with three new telescopes on the Australian continent and an identical antenna in New Zealand were built to address this issue. While the overall number of observations in the south has greatly improved since then, a closer look reveals that this improvement is only true for strong radio sources (source flux densities >0.6 Jy). The new array of small very long baseline interferometry antennas has a relatively low baseline sensitivity so that only strong sources can be observed within a short integration time. A new observing strategy, the star scheduling mode, was developed to enable efficient observations of weak sources during geodetic sessions, through the addition of a single more sensitive antenna to the network. This scheduling mode was implemented in the Vienna very long baseline interferometry Software and applied in four 24-h sessions in 2016. These observations provide updated positions and source flux densities for 42 weak southern radio sources and significantly reduce the formal uncertainties for these sources. The star scheduling mode now allows the AuScope very long baseline interferometry array to undertake greater responsibility in monitoring sources in the southern sky, without significantly weakening the session for geodetic purposes.
The conversion of a former 100-foot (30-m) telecommunications antenna (Earth Station) in New Zealand into a radio telescope is described. A specification of the antenna and the priorities for its actual conversion are initially presented. In describing the actual conversion, particular emphasis is given to mechanical and electrical components, as well as to the design of the telescope control system, telescope networking for VLBI operations, and telescope maintenance. Plans for RF, front- and back-end developments based upon radio astronomical priorities are outlined.
We report the results of a successful 7-hour 1.4 GHz Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) experiment using two new stations, ASKAP-29 located in Western Australia and WARK12M located on the North Island of New Zealand. This was the first geodetic VLBI observing session with the participation of these new stations. We have determined the positions of ASKAP-29 and WARK12M. Random errors on position estimates are 150–200 mm for the vertical component and 40–50 mm for the horizontal component. Systematic errors caused by the unmodeled ionosphere path delay may reach 1.3 m for the vertical component.
As a result of collective efforts of an Australian–New Zealand VLBI team, the first New Zealand VLBI system was developed, and a series of test observations between New Zealand and Australia conducted. The equipment and techniques used to conduct New Zealand's first VLBI observations are discussed and results of work in Australia and New Zealand to obtain fringes and the image of the source (PKS1921-231) are presented. The road map for New Zealand radio-astronomy as well as New Zealand involvement in the SKA is discussed.
An observational program for study dynamics of planetary nebulae with the help of RRL is discussed. The expansion velocities may be found from observations of radio recombination lines in different wavelength. The method is free of the microturbulence problem inherent in standard spectroscopic methods. Set of theoretical models was computed for NGC 7027. Observations of RRL with n > 150 may allow making choice between models with high and low microturbulence.
A reform of the content of university education is taking place in Russia today. A restoration of human directed principles, the denial of strict ideological components in education and an improvement in the teaching content of the humanities, are among the most important characteristics of the on-going reforms. An important part of today's activities is the introduction of the basics of natural sciences to the process of teaching humanities. We have gained four years experience in the establishment of natural sciences in humanities at the Ural State University (Ekaterinburg, Russia).
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