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Abstract

The sensitivity and versatility of SKA will provide microarcsec astrometric precision and high quality milliarcsec-resolution images by simultaneously detecting calibrator sources near the target source. To reach these goals, we suggest that the long-baseline component of SKA contains at least 25% of the total collecting area in a region between 1000 and 5000 km from the core SKA. We also suggest a minimum of 60 elements in the long-baseline component of SKA to provide the necessary (u-v) coverage. For simultaneous all-sky observations, which provide absolute astrometric and geodetic parameters, we suggest using 10 independent subarrays each composed of at least six long-baseline elements correlated with the core SKA. We discuss many anticipated SKA long-baseline astrometric experiments: determination of distance, proper motion and orbital motion of thousands of stellar objects; planetary motion detections; mass determination of degenerate stars using their kinetics; calibration of the universal distance scale from 10 to 107 pc; the core and inner-jet interactions of AGN. With an increase by a factor of 10 in absolute astrometric accuracy using simultaneous all sky observations, the fundamental quasar reference frame can be defined to <10 μas and tied to the solar-system dynamic frame to this accuracy. Parameters associated with the earth rotation and orientation, nutation, and geophysical parameters, can be accurately monitored. Tests of fundamental physics include: solar and Jovian deflection experiments, the sky frame accuracy needed to interpret the gravity wave/pulsar-timing experiment, accurate monitoring of spacecraft orbits that impact solar system dynamics. © 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Fomalont, E., & Reid, M. (2004). Microarcsecond astrometry using the SKA. New Astronomy Reviews, 48(11–12), 1473–1482. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.newar.2004.09.037

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