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The Astrophysical Journal



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We present images from a space-VLBI survey using the facilities of the VLBI Space Observatory Programme (VSOP), drawing our sample from the well-studied Pearson-Readhead survey of extragalactic radio sources. Our survey has taken advantage of long space-VLBI baselines and large arrays of ground antennas, such as the Very Long Baseline Array and European VLBI Network, to obtain high-resolution images of 27 active galactic nuclei and to measure the core brightness temperatures of these sources more accurately than is possible from the ground. A detailed analysis of the source properties is given in accompanying papers. We have also performed an extensive series of simulations to investigate the errors in VSOP images caused by the relatively large holes in the (u,v)-plane when sources are observed near the orbit normal direction. We find that while the nominal dynamic range (defined as the ratio of map peak to off-source error) often exceeds 1000:1, the true dynamic range (map peak to on-source error) is only about 30:1 for relatively complex core-jet sources. For sources dominated by a strong point source, this value rises to approximately 100:1. We find the true dynamic range to be a relatively weak function of the difference in position angle (P.A.) between the jet P.A. and u-v coverage major axis P.A. For regions with low signal-to-noise ratios, typically located down the jet away from the core, large errors can occur, causing spurious features in VSOP images that should be interpreted with caution.