NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2001A-0060

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Proposal Information for 2001A-0060


PI: Norbert Zacharias, U.S. Naval Observatory, nz@pisces.usno.navy.mil
Address: 3450 Mass. Ave. N.W., Washington, DC 20392, USA

CoI: Alan Fey, USNO
CoI: David Boboltz, USNO
CoI: Kenneth Johnston, USNO
CoI: Marion Zacharias, USRA/USNO

Title: Structure analysis and astrometry of extragalactic sources for a FAME/ICRF link

Abstract: The Full-sky Astrometric Mapping Explorer (FAME) is an astrometric satellite designed to determine with unprecedented accuracy the positions, distances, and motions of 40 million stars within our galactic neighborhood. FAME will allow a more accurate connection between the stellar and extragalactic reference frames than was achievable with \em Hipparcos. The FAME mission will be capable of observing compact objects brighter than about V=16^m. The link of the FAME reference frame to the International Celestial Reference Frame (ICRF) will be accomplished through observations of radio stars and extragalactic objects in a weighted solution. We propose WIYN observations of ~ 100 candidate extragalactic link sources with V\le 16^m. The proposed observations have 2 goals: 1) survey non-ICRF extragalactic sources with confirmed radio flux for optical structure, and 2) pilot investigation aimed at highest astrometric accuracy for a sub-set of the link sources. Only a small fraction (~ 1/8) of these optically bright sources are ICRF sources (radio bright). The positions of many of the remaining sources could be determined in the system of the ICRF with the expensive phase referencing technique, however the most suitable candidates need to be selected first. An accurate alignment between the radio and optical frames will allow astrophysical interpretations of high-resolution multi- wavelength imaging observations and will be required to tie the internal FAME reference frame to an inertial frame.


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