Documentation for VLA data reduction, image making, observing preparation, etc., can be found in various manuals. Current manuals are available on-line. Those manuals marked by an asterisk (*) can be mailed out upon request, or are available for downloading from the NRAO website. Direct your requests for mailed hardcopy to Lori Appel. Many other documents of interest to the VLA user, not listed here, are available from our website.

  1. PROCEEDINGS FROM THE 1988 SYNTHESIS IMAGING WORKSHOP: Synthesis theory, technical information and observing strategies can be found in: "Synthesis Imaging in Radio Astronomy." This collection of lectures given in Socorro in June 1988 has been published by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific as Volume 6 of their Conference Series. The lectures of the 2014 workshop are available at the 14th Synthesis Imaging Workshop web site.
  2. PROCEEDINGS FROM THE 1998 SYNTHESIS IMAGING WORKSHOP: This is an updated and expanded version of Reference 1, taken from the 1998 Synthesis Imaging Summer School, held in Socorro in June, 1998. These proceedings are published as Volume 180 of the ASP Conference Series.
  3. GUIDE TO OBSERVING WITH THE VLA: Describes details of how to observe with the VLA once you have been allocated time on the VLA ( Including special observing modes such as:
    2. OBSERVING WITH THE 8-BIT (up to 2 GHz bandwidth) & 3-BIT (up to 8 GHz bandwidth) SAMPLER SYSTEMS (;
    8. MOSAICKING (;
    11. VLBI AT THE VLA (
  4. *CASA COOKBOOK (deprecated with last updates for CASA 4.7.2): The CASA Cookbook for use of the package for data reduction of VLA (& ALMA) data is available, along with other documentation, from the CASA home page ( See (
  5. CASA Online Documentation:
  6. VLA CASA Guides: Tutorials and data reduction examples of VLA data in CASA (
  7. *AIPS COOKBOOK: The Astronomical Image Processing System (AIPS) software is able to fully calibrate VLA data and do most imaging operations. The exception is the wide-band (bandwidth synthesis) deconvolution which is being developed in CASA only. ALMA data may also be reduced in AIPS although the package is not fully qualified to calibrate data from the ALMA linearly-polarized feeds. The Cookbook description for calibration and imaging under the AIPS system can be found near all public workstations in the SOC. The latest version has expanded descriptions of data calibration imaging, cleaning, self-calibration, spectral line reduction, and VLBI reductions. See (
  8. *GOING AIPS: This is a two-volume programmers manual for those wishing to write programs under AIPS. It is now somewhat out of date. See (
  9. *VLA CALIBRATOR LIST: This page contains the list of VLA Calibrators in both 1950 and J2000 epoch. See (
  10. *The Very Large Array: Design and Performance of a Modern Synthesis Radio Telescope, Napier, Thompson, and Ekers, Proc. of IEEE, 71, 295, 1983.
  11. *HISTORICAL VLA MEMO SERIES: archive memo series from the early days of the VLA. See (
  12. *RECENT VLA MEMO SERIES: the memo series relating to the expanded capabilities of the VLA. See (
  13. *The VLA Expansion Project: Construction Project Book. The Expanded VLA Project Books contains the technical details of the VLA Expansion construction project. It is available online at
  14. INTRODUCTION TO THE NRAO VERY LARGE ARRAY (Green Book): This manual has general introductory information on the VLA. Topics include theory of interferometry, hardware descriptions, observing preparation, data reduction, image making and display. Major sections of this 1983 manual are now out of date, but it nevertheless remains a useful source of information on much of the VLA. There are a few hard copies at the VLA and in the DSOC. Much of this document is now available for download ( Note: it does not include any information about the hardware and software specific to the expanded Karl G. Jansky VLA.
  15. WIDAR: The DRAO design and development documents of the WIDAR correlator of the VLA are available at


Online Tools & Important Links

The NRAO User Portal. ( This is a gateway to the NRAO interactive services that include the Proposal Submission Tool (PST).

The NRAO Proposal Submission Tool (PST) online manual. (

The VLA Exposure Calculator Tool (ECT) online manual. (

The VLA Exposure Calculator Tool (ECT). (

The Resource Catalog Tool for proposers. (



Many thanks to all the VLA staff and our RSRO participants who have worked long and hard to commission these capabilities and who have helped to create this extensively updated set of documentation.

NRAO is grateful to Professor Rob Ivison for supporting the upgrade of some of the 3-bit samplers on the VLA via a grant from the European Research Council. For observations using the 3-bit samplers between May 2015 and March 2018 we encourage users to include the following text in the Acknowledgments section of their publications:

"We acknowledge funding towards the 3-bit samplers used in this work from ERC Advanced Grant 321302, COSMICISM."