SPAM: A data reduction recipe for high-resolution, low-frequency radio-interferometric observations

H. T. Intema* †
1National Radio Astronomy Observatory, 1003 Lopezville Road, Socorro, NM 87801-0387, USA

View Full Article: [PDF]


High-resolution astronomical imaging at sub-GHz radio frequencies has been available for more than 15 years, with the VLA at 74 and 330 MHz, and the GMRT at 150, 240, 330 and 610 MHz. Recent developments include wide-bandwidth upgrades for VLA and GMRT, and commissioning of the aperture-array-based, multibeam telescope LOFAR. A common feature of these telescopes is the necessity to deconvolve the very many detectable sources within their wide fields-of-view and beyond. This is complicated by gain variations in the radio signal path that depend on viewing direction. One such example is phase errors due to the ionosphere.

Here I discuss the inner workings of SPAM, a set of AIPS-based data reduction scripts in Python that includes direction-dependent calibration and imaging. Since its first version in 2008, SPAM has been applied to many GMRT data sets at various frequencies. Many valuable lessons were learned, and translated into various SPAM software modifications. Nowadays, semi-automated SPAM data reduction recipes can be applied to almost any GMRT data set, yielding good quality continuum images comparable with (or often better than) hand-reduced results. SPAM is currently being migrated from AIPS to CASA with an extension to handle wide bandwidths. This is aimed at providing users of the VLA low-band system and the upcoming widebandwidth GMRT with the necessary data reduction tools.


<< Previous Article |    Back to Asics_Vol_013

Keywords : atmospheric e ects – methods: data analysis – instrumentation: interferometers email: