Volume 605, September 2017
|Number of page(s)||26|
|Section||Numerical methods and codes|
|Published online||20 September 2017|
Phase correction for ALMA. Investigating water vapour radiometer scaling: The long-baseline science verification data case study
1 Leiden Observatory, Leiden University, PO Box 9513, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
2 SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research, Sorbonnelaan 2, 3584 CA Utrecht, The Netherlands
3 National Radio Astronomy Observatory, 520 Edgemont Road, Charlottesville, VA 22911, USA
4 National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) Chile Observatory, Alonso de Cordova 3107, Vitacura 763 0355, Santiago, Chile
5 Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO), Vitacura 763 0355, Santiago, Chile
6 Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics, PO Box 23-141, Taipei 10617, Taiwan, PR China
Received: 18 May 2017
Accepted: 16 June 2017
The Atacama Large millimetre/submillimetre Array (ALMA) makes use of water vapour radiometers (WVR), which monitor the atmospheric water vapour line at 183 GHz along the line of sight above each antenna to correct for phase delays introduced by the wet component of the troposphere. The application of WVR derived phase corrections improve the image quality and facilitate successful observations in weather conditions that were classically marginal or poor. We present work to indicate that a scaling factor applied to the WVR solutions can act to further improve the phase stability and image quality of ALMA data. We find reduced phase noise statistics for 62 out of 75 datasets from the long-baseline science verification campaign after a WVR scaling factor is applied. The improvement of phase noise translates to an expected coherence improvement in 39 datasets. When imaging the bandpass source, we find 33 of the 39 datasets show an improvement in the signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) between a few to ~30 percent. There are 23 datasets where the S/N of the science image is improved: 6 by <1%, 11 between 1 and 5%, and 6 above 5%. The higher frequencies studied (band 6 and band 7) are those most improved, specifically datasets with low precipitable water vapour (PWV), <1 mm, where the dominance of the wet component is reduced. Although these improvements are not profound, phase stability improvements via the WVR scaling factor come into play for the higher frequency (>450 GHz) and long-baseline (>5 km) observations. These inherently have poorer phase stability and are taken in low PWV (<1 mm) conditions for which we find the scaling to be most effective. A promising explanation for the scaling factor is the mixing of dry and wet air components, although other origins are discussed. We have produced a python code to allow ALMA users to undertake WVR scaling tests and make improvements to their data.
Key words: techniques: interferometric / techniques: high angular resolution / atmospheric effects / methods: data analysis / submillimeter: general
© ESO, 2017
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