TitleThe VLA Low-band Ionosphere and Transient Experiment (VLITE)
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsClarke, T, Peters, W, Giacintucci, S, Kassim, N, Polisensky, E, Helmboldt, J, Richards, E, Ray, P, Kerr, M, Deneva, J
JournalAmerican Astronomical Society
Date Published01/2018

The VLA Low-band Ionosphere and Transient Experiment (VLITE, http://vlite.nrao.edu/ ) is a commensal low-frequency observing system that has been operational on the National Radio Astronomy Observatory's Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) since late 2014. The separate optical paths of the prime-focus sub-GHz dipole feeds and the Cassegrain-focus 1-50 GHz feeds allow both systems to operate simultaneously with independent correlators. The initial 2.5 years of VLITE operation provided real-time correlation of 10 antennas across the 320-384 MHz band with a total observing time approaching 12,000 hours. During the summer of 2017, VLITE was upgraded to a total of 16 antennas (more than doubling the number of baselines) with enhanced correlator capabilities to enable correlation of the on-the-fly observing mode being used for the new NRAO VLA Sky Survey (VLASS).We present an overview of the VLITE system, including highlights of the complexities of a commensal observing program, sparse-array challenges, and scientific capabilities from our science-ready data pipeline. In the longer term, we seek a path to broadband expansion across all VLA antennas to develop a powerful new LOw Band Observatory (LOBO).