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Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) is a technique in which an array of physically independent radio telescopes observe simultaneously in order to yield high-resolution images of cosmic radio sources. The European VLBI Network (EVN) is an array of sensitive radio telescopes located across Europe, and extending to China, that carries out VLBI observations in three sessions per year for a total of ~90 days, forming an interferometer with milliarcsecond resolution and high sensitivity. Data from EVN VLBI observations are correlated in a central processor at the Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe (JIVE). The EVN often co-observes with the UK MERLIN array and the US Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA).

The traditional system for performing VLBI observations uses magnetic tape to transport data from telescopes to data processor. Historically this was the only practical way of moving the huge amounts of data involved. Multi-gigabit connections are now available in most European countries via National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) and across Europe via GÉANT. The EVN Data Processor at JIVE, and a growing number of telescopes now have high bandwidth connections to these networks. As the current VLBI technology approaches the end of its development path the opportunity arises to make use of these rapidly expanding networks to connect the telescopes to the data processor in real time. With the support of GÉANT and a consortium of NRENs, the European VLBI Network (EVN) is currently involved in a Proof-of-Concept project to connect up to six European telescopes directly to the JIVE data processor. The project is exploring the feasibility of achieving real-time "eVLBI" using shared IP across the production R&E networks. As a direct result of this activity the use of FTP for fringe checks has already become a routine facility. In the longer term network experts predict the use of dedicated wavelengths for high demand users. The DWDM connection to JIVE forms an integral part of Netherlight, with links to UKLIGHT and other elements of the global, optical-switching test bed. Thus, European VLBI is primed to play an important role as a test application in this development.



This presentation is part of session "Greedy Applications" which starts at Wednesday, June 9 @ 14:00


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Last modified on the 15th 2004f June 2004 - 12:35