Volume 541, May 2012
|Number of page(s)||4|
|Published online||15 May 2012|
Over-resolution of compact sources in interferometric observations
1 Onsala Space Observatory, 439 92 Onsala, Sweden
2 Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, 53121 Bonn, Germany
3 Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, CSIC, Apdo. Correos 2004, 08071 Granada, Spain
Received: 25 October 2011
Accepted: 9 March 2012
We review the effects of source size in interferometric observations and focus on the cases of very compact sources. If a source is extremely compact and/or weak (such that it is impossible to detect signatures of source structure in the visibilities), we describe a test of hypothesis that can be used to set a strong upper limit to the size of the source. We also estimate the minimum possible size of a source whose structure can still be detected by an interferometer (i.e., the maximum theoretical over-resolution power of an interferometer), which depends on the overall observing time, the compactness of the array distribution, and the sensitivity of the receivers. As a result, and depending on the observing frequency, the over-resolution power of forthcoming ultra-sensitive arrays, such as the Square Kilometer Array (SKA), may allow us to study the details of sources at angular scales as small as a few μas.
Key words: instrumentation: interferometers / techniques: interferometric / techniques: high angular resolution
© ESO, 2012
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