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Astron. Astrophys. 353, L37-L40 (2000)

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Letter to the Editor

VLBI difference astrometry at 43 GHz

J.C. Guirado 1, J.M. Marcaide 1, M.A. Pérez-Torres 1 and E. Ros 2

1 Universitat de València, Departamento de Astronomía, 46100 Burjassot, València, Spain
2 Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, 53121 Bonn, Germany

Received 19 October 1999 / Accepted 2 December 1999


From 43 GHz VLBA observations of the pair of radio sources QSO 1928+738 and BL 2007+777 we have demonstrated the feasibility of precision phase-delay differential astrometric techniques at millimeter wavelengths. For a pair of sources with 5o separation and high antenna elevations, we have shown that present astrometric models and millimeter arrays are advanced enough to model the differential phase-delay to within 2 picoseconds, less than one tenth of a phase-cycle at 43 GHz. The root-mean-square of the differential phase-delay residuals is dominated by the fluctuations of the atmospheric water vapor. We have determined the relative position of the observed sources with a precision twofold better than previous determinations at lower frequencies and, more importantly, largely free from ambiguous definitions of the reference point on the structure of the radio sources. Our result makes 43 GHz VLBI phase-delay differential astrometry an ideal tool to study the absolute kinematics of the highly variable structures of regions near the core of extragalactic radio sources.

Key words: astrometry – techniques: interferometric – galaxies: quasars: individual: QSO 1928+738 – galaxies: BL Lacertae objects: individual: BL 2007+777

Send offprint requests to: J.C. Guirado

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 2000

Online publication: January 18, 2000