Letter to the Editor
Radio astrometry with chromatic AGN core positions
Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, 53121 Bonn, Germany e-mail: email@example.com
Accepted: 25 August 2009
Aims. The effect of frequency-dependent AGN core positions (“core-shifts”) on radio Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) global astrometry measurements is investigated.
Methods. The basic equations relating to VLBI astrometry are reviewed, including the effects of source structure. A power-law representation of core-shifts, based on both observations and theoretical considerations of jet conditions, is incorporated.
Results. It is shown that, in the presence of core-shifts, phase and group-delay astrometry measurements yield different positions. For a core displacement from the jet base parametrized by , group delays measure a “reduced” core-shift of . For the astrophysically-significant case of β = 1, group delays measure no shift at all, giving the position of the jet base. At 8.4 GHz an estimated typical offset between phase and group-delay positions of ~170 μas is smaller than the current ~250 μas precision of group-delay positions of the sources used to define the ICRF; however, this effect must be taken into account for future measurements planned with improved accuracy when comparing with optical positions of AGN to be obtained with the GAIA mission.
Key words: astrometry / reference systems / galaxies: jets / techniques: interferometric
© ESO, 2009