Microarcsecond astrometry using the SKA

  • Fomalont E
  • Reid M
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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 107pc; 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

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