Low Frequency Array Ireland officially launched

July 28, 2017, ASTRON Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy
Credit: ASTRON Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy

On 27 July 2017, the newly built Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) station in Ireland will be officially opened. This extends the largest radio telescope in the world, connecting to its central core of antennas in the north of the Netherlands, now forming a network of two thousand kilometres across. Astronomers can now study the history of the universe in even more detail. The station will be opened by the Irish Minister for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan.

The international LOFAR telescope (ILT) is a European network of , connected by a high-speed fibre optic network. With the data of thousands of antennas together, now including the Irish antennas, powerful computers create a virtual dish with a diameter of two thousand kilometres. The telescope thus gets has an even sharper and more sensitive vision.

Rene Vermeulen, Director of the ILT, is very excited about this new collaboration."Thanks to the new LOFAR station in Ireland, we can observe the universe in even more detail. For example, we can look more closely at objects near and far, from our Sun to black holes, magnetic fields, and the emergence of galaxies in the early Universe. These are important areas of research for astronomers in the Netherlands and other ILT partner countries."

The Irish LOFAR team is led by Professor Peter Gallagher (Trinity College Dublin), an expert on Solar astrophysics. Vermeulen: "Studying the Sun, including solar flares, is an important branch of astronomical research. In this and other areas Irish researchers bring important reinforcement to our partnership."

Successful tests

LOFAR was designed and built by ASTRON, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy. Earlier this month, a team from ASTRON conducted the final delivery tests of the Irish on the Birr castle estate. The antennas, which conduct measurements at the lowest frequencies that can be observed from the earth, perform according to specification. The fibre optic has already been successfully connected to the supercomputer in the computing centre in Groningen, which combines the data of the thousands of antennas.

Explore further: LOFAR telescope array expands into Ireland

Related Stories

LOFAR telescope array expands into Ireland

January 13, 2016

The world's largest connected radio telescope is about to become even bigger! LOFAR, the Low Frequency Array, will expand into Ireland in 2016. This is not only great news for Irish astrophysics, but also for the International ...

LOFAR: Giant radio telescope goes multi-national

February 3, 2011

In the quest to discover more about our Universe and the birth of stars and galaxies, a new UK telescope connected for the first time to others across Europe has delivered its first 'radio pictures'. The images of the 3C196 ...

LOFAR takes the pulse of the radio sky

April 14, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- A powerful new telescope is allowing an international team led by University of Manchester scientists to have their “best-ever look” at pulsars – rapidly rotating neutron stars created when ...

Finger on the pulse of the pulsars

May 6, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- An international team of astronomers including German scientists has succeeded in recording the most sensitive observations to date of pulsars at low frequency. The measurement was undertaken with the European ...

Recommended for you

Semimetals are high conductors

March 18, 2019

Researchers in China and at UC Davis have measured high conductivity in very thin layers of niobium arsenide, a type of material called a Weyl semimetal. The material has about three times the conductivity of copper at room ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.