Precision Geodesy via Radio Interferometry

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Science  27 Oct 1972:
Vol. 178, Issue 4059, pp. 396-398
DOI: 10.1126/science.178.4059.396


Very-long-baseline interferometry experiments, involving observations of extragalactic radio sources, were performed in 1969 to determine the vector separations between antenna sites in Massachusetts and West Virginia. The 845.130-kilometer baseline was estimated from two separate experiments. The results agreed with each other to within 2 meters in all three components and with a special geodetic survey to within 2 meters in length; the differences in baseline direction as determined by the survey and by interferometry corresponded to discrepancies of about 5 meters. The experiments also yielded positions for nine extragalactic radio sources, most to within 1 arc second, and allowed the hydrogen maser clocks at the two sites to be synchronized a posteriori with an uncertainty of only a few nanoseconds.

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