Automated analysis of Kokee–Wettzell Intensive VLBI sessions—algorithms, results, and recommendations
Journal article, 2015
The time-dependent variations in the rotation and orientation of the Earth are represented by a set of Earth Orientation Parameters (EOP). Currently, Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) is the only technique able to measure all EOP simultaneously and to provide direct observation of universal time, usually expressed as UT1-UTC. To produce estimates for UT1-UTC on a daily basis, 1-h VLBI experiments involving two or three stations are organised by the International VLBI Service for Geodesy and Astrometry (IVS), the IVS Intensive (INT) series. There is an ongoing effort to minimise the turn-around time for the INT sessions in order to achieve near real-time and high quality UT1-UTC estimates. As a step further towards true fully automated real-time analysis of UT1-UTC, we carry out an extensive investigation with INT sessions on the Kokee–Wettzell baseline. Our analysis starts with the first versions of the observational files in S- and X-band and includes an automatic group delay ambiguity resolution and ionospheric calibration. Several different analysis strategies are investigated. In particular, we focus on the impact of external information, such as meteorological and cable delay data provided in the station log-files, and a priori EOP information. The latter is studied by extensive Monte Carlo simulations.
Our main findings are that it is easily possible to analyse the INT sessions in a fully automated mode to provide UT1-UTC with very low latency. The information found in the station log-files is important for the accuracy of the UT1-UTC results, provided that the data in the station log-files are reliable. Furthermore, to guarantee UT1-UTC with an accuracy of less than 20 μs, it is necessary to use predicted a priori polar motion data in the analysis that are not older than 12 h.