We describe a data reduction pipeline for very long baseline interferometry astrometric observations of pulsars, implemented using the ParselTongue AIPS interface. The pipeline performs calibration (including ionosphere modeling), phase referencing with proper accounting for the reference source structure, amplitude corrections for pulsar scintillation, and position fitting to yield the position, proper motion, and parallax. The optimal data weighting scheme to minimize the total error budget of a parallax fit, and how this scheme varies with pulsar parameters such as flux density, is also investigated. The robustness of the techniques employed is demonstrated with the presentation of the first results from a two-year astrometry program using the Australian Long Baseline Array. The parallax of PSR J1559-4438 is determined to be 1π = 0.384 0.081 mas (1σ), resulting in a distance estimate of 2600 pc that is consistent with earlier dispersion measure and HI absorption stimates.
- Pulsars: general
- Pulsars: individual (J1559?4438)
- Techniques: interferometric