U.S. Naval Observatory Earth Orientation Department

The Washington Correlator

[USNO Mark IIIA Correlator]
The Mark IIIA Processor

A close-up view of the Mark IIIA Processor of the Washington Correlator. The processor compares or "correlates" radio signals from distant quasars measured by pairs of radio telescopes for time coincidence to determine the differences in the times of arrival of the radio signals at each radio telescope. One correlator module (in the photograph, a vertical row of red and green lights denotes one module) can compare the signals from one radio telescope pair (one baseline) at one radio frequency (one frequency channel). The Washington Correlator has 10 sets of 14 modules and so can process up to 10 baselines, each with 14 frequency channels.

After many years of service, the Mark IIIA Correlator is nearing the end of its useful lifetime. It is currently scheduled to be replaced by the state-of-the-art Mark IV Correlator late in 1998 or early 1999.

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Last modified: Fri Feb 20 16:48:21 EST 1998 Approved by EO Dept. Head, USNO