First all sky radio image with LOFAR antennas near Garching

Not everyone was celebrating carnival in mid February; some scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching were eagerly waiting for the first images of their new radio telescope. On Friday 12th February the wait was over: The LOFAR station in Unterweilenbach took the first all sky image (see figure).

LOFAR, which is shorthand for Low Frequency Array, is a new radio telescope under construction by ASTRON in the Netherlands. The Max Planck Institute of Astrophysics (MPA) in Garching is one of the German Institutions participating in the European LOFAR Project and is currently building up a LOFAR remote station. This consists of an antenna field in the vicinity of Garching, which will operate as a node within the distributed LOFAR radio telescope.

The frequency range covered by LOFAR, between 30 and 240 MHz, is largely unexplored and LOFAR will be the dominant telescope over the next decade. The large improvement in sensitivity and resolution compared with present-day telescopes will open a new window on the Universe. Research areas served by LOFAR range from highly redshifted light from the early universe, one billion years after the Big Bang, to low energy emission from our own Sun.

linkPfeilExtern.gifThe LOFAR project at MPA