Automated and continual determination of radio telescope reference points with sub-mm accuracy: results from a campaign at the Onsala Space Observatory
Journal article, 2013
The Global Geodetic Observing System (GGOS) requires sub-mm accuracy, automated and continual determinations of the so-called local tie vectors at co-location stations. Co-location stations host instrumentation for several space geodetic techniques and the local tie surveys involve the relative geometry of the reference points of these instruments. Thus, these reference points need to be determined in a common coordinate system, which is a particular challenge for rotating equipment like radio telescopes for geodetic Very Long Baseline Interferometry. In this work we describe a concept to achieve automated and continual determinations of radio telescope reference points with sub-mm accuracy. We developed a monitoring system, including Java-based sensor communication for automated surveys, network adjustment and further data analysis. This monitoring system was tested during a monitoring campaign performed at the Onsala Space Observatory in the summer of 2012. The results obtained in this campaign show that it is possible to perform automated determination of a radio telescope reference point during normal operations of the telescope. Accuracies on the sub-mm level can be achieved, and continual determinations can be realized by repeated determinations and recursive estimation methods.
Reference point determination