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Do Antennas in an Array Always Need to Point to the Same Spot?

29 Jul 2014, 17:33 UTC
Do Antennas in an Array Always Need to Point to the Same Spot?
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Question: There is a very nice animated clip of the array set as the bing.com background today (7-11-14). I noticed that a few antennas are not rotating in sync with the rest (example: 1,2,4 and 9). If the antennas move together to represent a single radio how is the information processed correctly, even if a single antenna is out sequence? My first theory is that the antennas don’t have to rotate at the exact same time, and the information is rendered by software to represent a single antenna. However, I would imagine that by not having a perfectly synced array, there would be a slight delay while waiting for the software to process the out-of-sequence data. Can you please explain how this data is processed if antenna anomalies exist and can this affect data/image output? - Avinash Lampman, 9th grade COVA
Answer: When the antennas in an interferometric array like the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) or the Very Large Array (VLA) are making astronomical measurements of an object, they have to all be pointed at the object. If the antennas are moving from one object to another, though, they don’t have to all exactly track the same position on ...

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