TitleUpdate on the Commensal VLA Low-band Ionosphere and Transient Experiment (VLITE)
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsKassim, N, Clarke, T, Ray, P, Polisensky, E, Peters, W, Giacintucci, S, Helmboldt, J, Hicks, B, Deneva, J
Conference NameAAS Meeting #229
Date Published01/2017
PublisherAmerican Astronomical Society

The JVLA Low-band Ionospheric and Transient Experiment (VLITE) is a commensal observing system on the NRAO JVLA. The separate optical path of the prime-focus sub-GHz dipole feeds and the Cassegrain-focus GHz feeds provided an opportunity to expand the simultaneous frequency operation of the JVLA through joint observations across both systems. The low-band receivers on 10 JVLA antennas are outfitted with dedicated samplers and use spare fibers to transport the 320-384 MHz band to the VLITE correlator. The initial phase of VLITE uses a custom-designed real-time DiFX software correlator to produce autocorrelations, as well as parallel and cross-hand cross-correlations from the linear dipole feeds. NRL and NRAO have worked together to explore the scientific potential of the commensal low frequency system for ionospheric remote sensing, astrophysics and transients. VLITE operates at nearly 70% wall time with roughly 6200 hours of JVLA time recorded each year.VLITE data are used in real-time for ionospheric research and are transferred daily to NRL for processing in the astrophysics and transient pipelines. These pipelines provide automated radio frequency interference excision, calibration, imaging and self-calibration of data.We will review early scientific results from VLITE across all three science focus areas, including the ionosphere, slow (> 1 sec) transients, and astrophysics. We also discuss the future of the project, that includes its planned expansion to eVLITE including the addition of more antennas, and a parallel capability to search for fast (< 1 sec), dispersed transients, such as Fast Radio Bursts and Rotating Radio Transients. We will also present early results of commissioning tests to utilize VLITE data products to complement NRAO’s 3 GHz VLA Sky Survey (VLASS). Revised pipelines are under development for operation during the on-the-fly operation mode of the sky survey.