Transcontinental Baselines and the Rotation of the Earth Measured by Radio Interferometry

Science  06 Dec 1974:
Vol. 186, Issue 4167, pp. 920-922
DOI: 10.1126/science.186.4167.920


Nine separate very-long-baseline interferometry (VLBI) experiments, carried out in 1972 and 1973 with radio telescopes 3900 kilometers apart, yielded values for the baseline length with a root-mean-square deviation about the mean of less than 20 centitneters. The corresponding fractional spread is about five parts in 108. Changes in universal time and in polar motion were also detertnined accurately from these data; the root-mean-square scatter of these results with respect to those based on optical methods were 2.9 milliseconds and 1.3 meters, respectively. Solid-earth tides were apparently detected, but no useful estimate of their amplituide was extracted.