Abstract The East Asian Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) Network (EAVN) is a rapidly evolving international VLBI array that is currently promoted under joint efforts among China, Japan and Korea. EAVN aims at forming a joint VLBI Network by combining a large number of radio telescopes distributed over East Asian regions. After the combination of the Korean VLBI Network (KVN) and the VLBI Exploration of Radio Astrometry (VERA) into KaVA, further expansion with the joint array in East Asia is actively promoted. Here we report the first imaging results (at 22 and 43 GHz) of bright radio sources obtained with KaVA connected to Tianma 65-m and Nanshan 26-m Radio Telescopes in China. To test the EAVN imaging performance for different sources, we observed four active galactic nuclei (AGN) having different brightness and morphology. As a result, we confirmed that the Tianma 65-m Radio Telescope (TMRT) significantly enhances the overall array sensitivity, a factor of 4 improvement in baseline sensitivity and 2 in image dynamic range compared to the case of KaVA only. The addition of the Nanshan 26-m Radio Telescope (NSRT) further doubled the east-west angular resolution. With the resulting high-dynamic-range, high-resolution images with EAVN (KaVA+TMRT+NSRT), various fine-scale structures in our targets, such as the counter-jet in M87, a kink-like morphology of the 3C 273 jet and the weak emission in other sources are successfully detected. This demonstrates the powerful capability of EAVN to study AGN jets and to achieve other science goals in general. Ongoing expansion of EAVN will further enhance the angular resolution, detection sensitivity and frequency coverage of the network.
Keywords galaxies: active — galaxies: jets — instrumentation: interferometers — radio continuum: galaxies
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