China/South Africa bilateral June 2017 workshop on Radio Astronomy, Space Geodesy and Space Science: outcomes and project proposals

PI’s: Zhiqiang Shen (China) Ludwig Combrinck (South Africa)
Project Notes as on 5 June 2017.

  • HartRAO: Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory (South Africa)
  • CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences (China)
  • SHAO: Shanghai Astronomical Observatory (China)
  • NAO: National Astronomical Observatories (China)
  • NTSC: National Time Service Center 
Chinese Collaborators:
  1. ZQ = Zhiqiang Shen (SHAO)
  2. JP = Jinsong Ping (NAO, CAS)
  3. XY = Xuhai Yang (NTSC, CAS)
  4. JL = Jinling Li (SHAO)
  5. SS = Shuli Song (SHAO)
  6. FS = Fengchun Shu (SHAO)
  7. WJ = Wu Jiang (SHAO)
  8. ZM = Zhiguo Meng (Univ. of Jilin)
  9. ZZ = Zhonping Zhang (SHAO)
  10. GW = Guangli Wang (SHAO)
  11. WZ = Weimin Zheng (SHAO)
  12. YY = Yihua Yan (NAOC)
  13. JS =  Jing Shun (SHAO)
  14. BZ = Bo Zhang (SHAO)
  15. JE = Jarken Esimbek (XAO)
  16. YX = Ye Xu (Purple Mountain Observatory)
  17. XZ = Xiuzhong Zhang (SHAO)
South African Collaborators:
  1. LC = Ludwig Combrinck (HartRAO)
  2. AdW = Alet de Witt (HartRAO)
  3. KEB = Khadija El Bouchefry (HartRAO)
  4. JQ = Jonathan Quick (HartRAO)
  5. RB = Roelf Botha (HartRAO)
  6. GM = Gordon Macleod (HartRAO)
  7. MB = Michael Bietenholz (HartRAO)
  8. FH = Fanie van den Heever (HartRAO)

Proposal 1: To develop software together for processing of LLR, LRR, VLBI data of the Lunar Lander, and to conduct research concerning the lunar ephemeris, EOP and GTR tests. (JP, LC, ZZ, JL…)
Proposal 2:  To conduct CE-xxx LRR and VLBI observations. Joint lunar radio ranging experiments (using radio telescopes from both sides), for geodetic, geodynamic, lunar dynamic, selenodetic studies (JP, WZ, FS, AdeW, LC, JQ, GM…)
Proposal 3: To conduct Beidou/GNSS/GEO satellite VLBI observations and precise orbit determinations, including iGMAS  (JP, LC, AdeW, XY, WZ…)
  1. Observing Time: We propose about 3 observing experiments from 2017 to 2018.
  2. Desired network: China- ChangChun VGOS. South Africa- HartRAO26. Converted antennas in other African countries. Special frequency setup for GNSS observations, and GNSS signals have to be attenuated.  L1 @ 1.5 GHz (GNSS observation with iGMAS or other receivers will do in the same time, ODTT can also do in the same time, and other technologies )
  3. Scheduling assistance: Scheduling at NTSC, CAS.
  4. Correlation: Correlating at NTSC, CAS.
  5. Requested data availability: Freely available to the NTSC and HartRAO. Data availability will be given to the applying consortium after successful correlation and fringe fitting.
  6. Scientific justifications:
    1. It can improve the orbit determination of GNSS satellites, especially GEO satellites.
    2. The observation of GNSS satellites with VLBI would allow to directly tie the GNSS transmitters to the International Celestial Reference Frame (ICRF).
    3. It also enables the determination of the Earth’s center of mass in the ICRF, what is not possible with classical VLBI.
    4. Improvements are expected in the area of inter-technique frame ties, which is the link between the various space geodetic techniques used for the derivation of the International Terrestrial Reference Frame (ITRF).
Proposal 4: To promote setting lunar surface control points for multi-purpose applications (e.g. CCR on CE-6 for LLR purposes). (JP, LC, RB, ZZ….)
Proposal 5: Capacity building within projects (student exchanges, post-grad training, cross-border co-supervision, summer/winter school, working group meetings etc.) (all; coordinator South Africa AdeW; China FS)
Proposal 6: Install China version of VGOS antenna at Matjiesfontein, South Africa, to form part of the China VLBI network and South African VLBI network. (JL, JP, LC, AdeW, RB, GM)
(MoU signed 5 June 2016)
Proposal 7: Moon radio imaging. (ZM, YY, JP, LC, GM, RB…)
To use the MeerKAT array, and the MUSER (China solar radio imager), to map the lunar radio temperature distribution at different depths, with a bandwidth from 300MHz ~ 15GHz, so as to study the lunar inner structure, volcanic dynamics and evolution history. 
Proposal 8: For pulsar timing study, to transfer H-maser atomic frequency standard between China and South Africa, by using Chang'E-3 lander, at X-band. (JP, LC, AdeW, RB, XY…)
Proposal 9:  Astrophysical masers and massive star-formation (Variability, new sources, modelling, surveys, VLBI etc.) (GM, BZ, ZS, JE, YX, FH)
Massive star-forming regions are energetic and highly dynamical regions. Many molecular species are found associated with these star-forming regions, in particular: hydroxyl, methanol, and water. Many of these species have transitions that exhibit maser emission. Some of these masering transitions are found exclusively towards massive, e.g. class II 6.7 and 12.1 GHz methanol masers. All of these astrophysical masers are variable, some even exhibit periodic variability. Since Galactic masers have high brightness temperature and their emission spots are very compact, they are good astronomical targets for VLBI observations. 
Proposal 10: Collaboration in iGMAS station in South Africa (RB, XY, SS…)
To set up an iGMAS station at the new fundamental site under development, Matjiesfontein (MATJ), near Carnarvon (KFTN), it’s near the core of the SKA in SA.
We can collaborate to setup one iGMAS station first. And the purpose for science, mainly including precise GNSS orbit, ionosphere product, ITRF et al.  And it also include time transfer study, especially between SKA and NTSC (National Time Service Center, Chinese Academy of Sciences) 
If the current stations in South Africa can be upgraded to support iGMAS, it’s very good for our coorperation. Thanks.
Station requirements:
Ext clock (Rubidium else the station clock)
All 4 constellations
1Hz / 50Hz Rinex 3 format files
Data transfer; As soon as possible
IGMAS/GNSS multi constellation GNSS tracking/network  
Proposal 11: Astronomical/Astrometric/Geodetic correlation. (AdeW, FS, WJ, RB, GW, XZ, LC…)
SHAO/CAS operates a correlator for the CVN, which can also involve the correlation for the East Asia VLBI Network (EAVN) and the IVS, while HartRAO is installing a high-speed computer with the view of developing an African correlator for the AVN. SHAO/CAS expertise in this area will be instrumental in the success of HartRAO's correlator. Once completed each facility can act as a backup to the other or augment data correlation when the other is over-utilized. 
Proposal 12: Collaborative project in the fields of scientific research on the use of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), including geodesy, geodynamics and climate research. (SS, JP, RB, LC…)
Initially, one GNSS receiving system to be located at HartRAO; with SHAO supplying the GNSS equipment, meteorological units, HartRAO to install and operate to International GNSS Service (IGS) standards; Other sites could follow. 
1. To study the impact of improved global coverage of GNSS data for GNSS media corrections;
2. To study climate using GNSS observations;
3. Geodynamics studies in South Africa and globally.
Proposal13: Collaboration on the densification of the standard S/X-band CRF and its extension at high frequency such as K-band and X/Ka-band. (AdeW, JL, FS, GW,???)
Proposal14: Collaboration on M81. (MB, ZS, WJ)

To combine old (Bietenholz) and new (Zhiqiang Shen; SHAO). Project is to utilize new VLBA observations of M81 that have already been obtained and combine with older M81 data to study its evolution.  

Proposal15: Collaboration on SLR/LLR hardware (RB, LC, ZZ)
Proposal16:  Data Mining for statistical analysis of the faint radio population (using archival data) to (KEB + to be identified)
- perform cross identification between catalogues using Bayesian approach
- test the radio-far-infrared (FIR) correlation changes with redshift and other galaxy properties. 
- search for AGNs and Star-forming galaxies and study their evolution
- classify radio sources using machine learning algorithms
- search for compact Steep Spectrum (CSS) sources and gigahertz Peaked Spectrum (GPS) sources 
- link to SKA big data
Proposal 17: Solar physics (Heliosphere, ionosphere) (YY, LC, RB, …)
Proposal18: Participation in the establishment of an internationally supported Fundamental Station in Antarctica (using 20-m ex Norway VLBI antenna) (LC, AdeW, RB, to be identified)
Proposal 19: Ideas and progress exchange on radio astronomy/space geodesy technology development (receivers, backends, calibrations, methods, new techniques etc.) (all)