VLSS redux: Software improvements applied to the Very Large Array Low-Frequency Sky Survey


Corresponding author: W. M. Lane, Remote Sensing Division, Naval Research Laboratory, Code 7213, 4555 Overlook Ave. SW, Washington, DC 23185, USA. (wendy.peters@nrl.navy.mil)


[1] We present details of improvements to data processing and analysis which were recently used for a re-reduction of the Very Large Array (VLA) Low-Frequency Sky Survey (VLSS) data. Algorithms described are implemented in the data-reduction package Obit, and include smart-windowing to reduce clean bias, improved automatic radio frequency interference removal, improved bright-source peeling, and higher-order Zernike fits to model the ionospheric phase contributions. An additional, but less technical improvement was using the original VLSS catalog as a same-frequency/same-resolution reference for calculating ionospheric corrections, allowing more accuracy and a higher percentage of data for which solutions are found. We also discuss new algorithms for extracting a source catalog and analyzing ionospheric fluctuations present in the data. The improved reduction techniques led to substantial improvements including images of six previously unpublished fields (1% of the survey area) and reducing the clean bias by 50%. The largest angular size imaged has been roughly doubled, and the number of cataloged sources is increased by 35% to 95,000.