One of the main research directions of Ventspils International Radio Astronomy Centre (VIRAC) is radio astronomy and astrophysics. The instrumental base for the centre comprised two fully steerable parabolic antennas, RT-16 and RT-32 (i.e. with the mirror diameter of 16 m and 32 m). After long reconstruction, radio telescope RT-32 is currently equipped with the receiving and data acquisition systems that allow observing in a wide frequency range from 327 MHz to 9 GHz. New Antenna Control Unit (ACU) allows stable, fast and precise pointing of antenna. Time and frequency distribution service provide 5, 10 and 100 MHz reference frequency, 1PPS signals and precise time stamps by NTP protocol and in the IRIG-B format by coaxial cable.
For the radio astronomical observations, main requirement of spatially Very Long Base Line Interferometric (VLBI) observations for the observatory is precise synchronization of the received and sampled data and linking to the exact time stamps. During October 2015, radio telescope RT-32 performance was tested in several successful VLBI experiments. The obtained results confirm the efficiency of the chosen methods of synchronization and the ability to reproduce them on similar antennas.
The authors perform a comparative analysis of the efficiency of two types of low-power wind energy conversion systems with horizontal and vertical axis in the meteorological conditions of Latvia. The analysis is based on long-term wind speed measurements over the period of two years conducted by a network of 22 observation stations at the height of 10 m above the ground. The study shows that in the conditions of Latvia wind turbines with a horizontal axis are expected to work with greater efficiency than similar installations with a vertical axis. The paper presents the models of the spatial distribution of average wind speed, Weibull wind speed frequency distribution parameters and the values of the expected operational efficiency for small wind turbine generators. The modelling results are presented in the form of colour contour maps. Overall, the results of the study can serve as a tool for forecasting annual energy production and for estimating the feasibility of commercial use of wind energy at the height of 10 m in the territory of Latvia.
The paper presents a review of wind parameter measurement complexes and investigation methods used for potential wind energy evaluation. Based on results of long-term investigations of wind shear distribution regularities are shown up to 160 m height on the Baltic Sea shore. Distribution of potential wind energy in Latvia is shown as a map and table of average and average cubic wind speed values. Database of wind parameter measurements is available at a public website.
The paper is devoted to the investigation into the wind energy potential based on long-term observations of the wind speed and energy density fluctuations at heights from 10 to 160 m on the Baltic Sea coast of Latvia. During the observations (2004 - 2013), the wind speed and direction values were measured, and the statistical database was accumulated using a LOGGER 9200 Symphonie measuring systems mounted on 60 m masts - one on the western coast and another on the north-east of Latvia. From June 2011 to May 2012, these measurements were complemented with the data for the heights from 40 to 160 m obtained by means of a ZephIR lidar and with the metrological data provided by “Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre” for the same period. The graphs of seasonal fluctuations in the wind speed were obtained for the heights up to 160 m by measurements over the period of 2007 - 2013. The results of the research on the wind speed distribution up to 200 m are promising for evaluation of the wind energy potential of Latvia and will be helpful in assessment of prospective sites for construction of WPPs.
The paper studies spatial wind energy flow distribution in Latvia based on wind speed measurements carried out at an altitude of 10 m over a period of two years, from 2015 to 2016. The measurements, with 1 min increments, were carried out using certified measuring instruments installed at 22 observation stations of the Latvian National Hydrometeorological and Climatological Service of the Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre (LEGMC). The models of the spatial distribution of averaged wind speed and wind energy density were developed using the method of spatial interpolation based on the historical measurement results and presented in the form of colour contour maps with a 1×1 km resolution. The paper also provides the results of wind speed spatial distribution modelling using a climatological reanalysis ERA5 at the altitudes of 10, 54, 100 and 136 m with a 31×31 km resolution. The analysis includes the comparison of actual wind speed measurement results with the outcomes of ERA5 modelling for meteorological observation stations in Ainazi, Daugavpils, Priekuli, Saldus and Ventspils.
STARTING-UP THE IRBENE 16-m FULLY STEERABLE PARABOLIC ANTENNA FOR RADIOASTRONOMIC OBSERVATIONS
The prospects of the Engineering Research Institute of the Ventspils Inter-national Radio Astronomy Center (VIRAC) for the future development are associated with modernization of the radio-telescope RT-16. Its 16-m fully steerable mirror antenna is a second of the kind located in the VIRAC territory. As a result of renovation of its infrastructure, the reliability of electric power supply has been improved, with the access established to the high-speed data transfer link of the Geant network through a 30 km optical communication cable. The gear ratio of the antenna's azimuthal rotation controller for the high-speed electric motor is ~ 850, and for the low-speed one it is ~ 54400. To control the azimuthal and elevation antenna's movement, a cabling scheme of the power supply and electric motors was devised. An experimental scheme for studying the operation of the antenna's drive was developed using static voltage converters (Simoreg DC-Master 6RA70) to power the 2.6 kW DC electric motors. The maximum power consumed by the positioning system to rotate the antenna in azimuth at the motor's rotational speed of 1000 rpm is 600-800 W. The low-speed motor of the drive can provide azimuthal rotation of the antenna at a speed of 14.76 °/min.
Joint VLBI and SLR satellite tracking is a novel tracking approach to explore potential applications and to work out common procedures to coordinate observations between astronomical observatories in Latvia. Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) satellites equipped with laser retroreflectors have been chosen as test targets because they are accessible by both measuring techniques – satellite laser ranging (SLR) and Very Long Base Interferometry (VLBI).
The first Joint SLR and VLBI observations of selected GNSS satellites using three of Latvian large-scale astronomical utilities – VIRAC radio telescopes RT32 and RT16 (Ventspils International Radio Astronomy Centre of Ventspils University of Applied Sciences) with L band receivers and SLR station Riga (Institute of Astronomy of University of Latvia) were obtained in 2016 (NKA16) and 2017 (NKA41 and NKA42).